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The effect of antifibrotic drugs in rat precision-cut fibrotic liver slices

Westra, I. M., Oosterhuis, D., Groothuis, G. M. M. & Olinga, P., 22-Apr-2014, In : PLoS ONE. 9, 4, 10 p., e95462.

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Two important signaling pathways in liver fibrosis are the PDGF-and TGF beta pathway and compounds inhibiting these pathways are currently developed as antifibrotic drugs. Testing antifibrotic drugs requires large numbers of animal experiments with high discomfort. Therefore, a method to study these drugs ex vivo was developed using precision-cut liver slices from fibrotic rat livers (fPCLS), representing an ex vivo model with a multicellular fibrotic environment. We characterized the fibrotic process in fPCLS from rat livers after 3 weeks of bile duct ligation (BDL) during incubation and tested compounds predominantly inhibiting the TGFb pathway (perindopril, valproic acid, rosmarinic acid, tetrandrine and pirfenidone) and PDGF pathway (imatinib, sorafenib and sunitinib). Gene expression of heat shock protein 47 (Hsp47), a smooth muscle actin (alpha Sma) and pro-collagen 1A1 (Pcol1A1) and protein expression of collagens were determined. During 48 hours of incubation, the fibrosis process continued in control fPCLS as judged by the increased gene expression of the three fibrosis markers, and the protein expression of collagen 1, mature fibrillar collagen and total collagen. Most PDGF-inhibitors and TGF beta-inhibitors significantly inhibited the increase in gene expression of Hsp47, aSma and Pcol1A1. Protein expression of collagen 1 was significantly reduced by all PDGF-inhibitors and TGFb-inhibitors, while total collagen was decreased by rosmarinic acid and tetrandrine only. However, fibrillar collagen expression was not changed by any of the drugs. In conclusion, rat fPCLS can be used as a functional ex vivo model of established liver fibrosis to test antifibrotic compounds inhibiting the PDGF-and TGFb signalling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere95462
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22-Apr-2014

    Keywords

  • HEPATIC STELLATE CELLS, BILE-DUCT OBSTRUCTION, CIRRHOTIC RATS, VALPROIC ACID, IN-VITRO, FIBROSIS DEVELOPMENT, IMATINIB MESYLATE, NEW-MODEL, TGF-BETA, FIBROGENESIS

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