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HSC-specific inhibition of Rho-kinase reduces portal pressure in cirrhotic rats without major systemic effects

Klein, S., Van Beuge, M. M., Granzow, M., Beljaars, L., Schierwagen, R., Kilic, S., Heidari, I., Huss, S., Sauerbruch, T., Poelstra, K. & Trebicka, J., Dec-2012, In : Journal of Hepatology. 57, 6, p. 1220-1227 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Sabine Klein
  • Marike Marjolijn Van Beuge
  • Michaela Granzow
  • Leonie Beljaars
  • Robert Schierwagen
  • Sibel Kilic
  • Iren Heidari
  • Sebastian Huss
  • Tilman Sauerbruch
  • Klaas Poelstra
  • Jonel Trebicka

Background & Aims: Rho-kinase activation mediates cell contraction and increases intrahepatic resistance and consequently portal pressure in liver cirrhosis. Systemic Rho-kinase inhibition decreases portal pressure in cirrhosis, but also arterial pressure. Thus, liver-specific Rho-kinase inhibition is needed. The delivery of Rho-kinase inhibitor to activated hepatic stellate cells reduces fibrosis. It might also relax these contractile cells and therewith decrease intrahepatic resistance. We tested this hypothesis by performing acute experiments in cirrhotic rats.

Methods: Cirrhosis models were CCI4-intoxication and bile duct ligation. Three hours after injection of the Rho-kinase inhibitor (Y26732) coupled with a carrier (mannose-6-phosphate modified human serum albumin), which targets activated hepatic stellate cells, hemodynamics were analyzed by the colored microsphere technique and direct pressure measurements. The delivery site and effect of Rho-kinase inhibitor were investigated by immunohistochemical stainings, as well as Western blot. Experiments with Rho-kinase inhibitor coupled with unmodified human serum albumin served as untargeted control.

Results: In both models of cirrhosis, the carrier coupled Rhokinase inhibitor lowered the portal pressure and decreased the hepatic-portal resistance. Immunohistochemical desmin-staining showed the carrier in hepatic stellate cells. The targeted therapy decreased the expression of the phosphorylated substrate of Rho-kinase (moesin) and abolished myosin light chains phosphorylation in fibrotic septae (collagen-staining). The targeted Rho-kinase inhibitor showed no major extrahepatic effects. By contrast, the untargeted Rho-kinase inhibitor elicited severe systemic hypotension.

Conclusions: Activated hepatic stellate cells are crucially involved in portal hypertension in cirrhosis. Targeting of Rhokinase in hepatic stellate cells not only decreased fibrosis, as previously shown, but also lowers portal pressure acutely without major systemic effects as demonstrated in this study. (C) 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1227
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Volume57
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2012

    Keywords

  • Liver cirrhosis, Portal hypertension, Intrahepatic resistance, Hepatic stellate cells, Rho-kinase, SECONDARY BILIARY-CIRRHOSIS, NITRIC-OXIDE SYNTHASE, HEPATIC STELLATE CELLS, DUCT-LIGATED RATS, MANNOSE 6-PHOSPHATE, SIGNALING CONTRIBUTES, SELECTIVE DELIVERY, LIVER-CIRRHOSIS, RHOA/RHO-KINASE, HYPERTENSION

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