MicroRNA-942 mediates hepatic stellate cell activation by regulating BAMBI expression in human liver fibrosis.

MicroRNA (miRNA)-mediated gene regulation contributes to liver pathophysiology, including hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and fibrosis progression. Here, we investigated the role of miR-942 in human liver fibrosis. The expression of miR-942, HSC activation markers, transforming growth factor-beta pseudoreceptor BMP and activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI), as well as collagen deposition, were investigated in 100 liver specimens from patients with varying degree of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related fibrosis. Human primary HSCs and the immortalized cell line (LX2 cells) were used for functional studies. We found that miR-942 expression was upregulated in activated HSCs and correlated inversely with BAMBI expression in liver fibrosis progression. Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) and lipopolyssacharide (LPS), two major drivers of liver fibrosis and inflammation, induce miR-942 expression in HSCs via Smad2/3 respective NF-kappaB/p50 binding to the miR-942 promoter. Mechanistically, the induced miR-942 degrades BAMBI mRNA in HSCs, thereby sensitizing the cells for fibrogenic TGF-beta signaling and also partly mediates LPS-induced proinflammatory HSC fate. In conclusion, the TGF-beta and LPS-induced miR-942 mediates HSC activation through downregulation of BAMBI in human liver fibrosis. Our study provides new insights on the molecular mechanism of HSC activation and fibrosis.

Arch Toxicol. 2018 Sep;92(9):2935-2946. doi: 10.1007/s00204-018-2278-9. Epub 2018 Aug 10.
L. Tao, D. Xue, D. Shen, W. Ma, J. Zhang, X. Wang, W. Zhang, L. Wu, K. Pan, Y. Yang, Z. C. Nwosu, Steven Dooley, E. Seki, C. Liu
Date Published:
Arch Toxicol