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Open Access Downregulation of p16 Decreases Biliary Damage and Liver Fibrosis in the Mdr2/ Mouse Model of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

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Biliary senescence and hepatic fibrosis are hallmarks of cholangiopathies including primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Senescent cholangiocytes display senescence-associated secretory phenotypes [SASPs, e.g., transforming growth factor-1 (TGF-1)] that further increase biliary senescence (by an autocrine loop) and trigger liver fibrosis by paracrine mechanisms. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of p16 inhibition and role of the TGF-1/microRNA (miR)-34a/sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) axis in biliary damage and liver fibrosis in the Mdr2/ mouse model of PSC. We treated (i) in vivo male wild-type (WT) and Mdr2/ mice with p16 Vivo-Morpholino or controls before measuring biliary mass [intrahepatic bile duct mass (IBDM)] and senescence, biliary SASP levels, and liver fibrosis, and (ii) in vitro intrahepatic murine cholangiocyte lines (IMCLs) with small interfering RNA against p16 before measuring the mRNA expression of proliferation, senescence, and fibrosis markers. p16 and miR-34a increased but SIRT1 decreased in Mdr2/ mice and PSC human liver samples compared to controls. p16 immunoreactivity and biliary senescence and SASP levels increased in Mdr2/ mice but decreased in Mdr2/ mice treated with p16 Vivo-Morpholino. The increase in IBDM and hepatic fibrosis (observed in Mdr2/ mice) returned to normal values in Mdr2/ mice treated with p16 Vivo-Morpholino. TGF-1 immunoreactivity and biliary SASPs levels were higher in Mdr2/ compared to those of WT mice but returned to normal values in Mdr2/ mice treated with p16 Vivo-Morpholino. The expression of fibrosis/senescence markers decreased in cholangiocytes from Mdr2/ mice treated with p16 Vivo-Morpholino (compared to Mdr2/ mice) and in IMCLs (after p16 silencing) compared to controls. Modulation of the TGF-1/miR-34a/SIRT1 axis may be important in the management of PSC phenotypes.

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Keywords: Biliary epithelium; Cholangiocytes; Cholangiopathies; Liver; miRNA

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical CenterIndianapolis, INUSA 2: Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University College of MedicineBryan, TXUSA 3: Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Medicine, Indiana UniversityIndianapolis, INUSA 4: Liver Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata,RomeItaly 5: Department of Nutrition, Texas A&M UniversityCollege Station, TXUSA

Publication date: November 11, 2020

This article was made available online on May 11, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Downregulation of p16 decreases biliary damage and liver fibrosis in the Mdr2-/- mouse model of primary sclerosing cholangitis".

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  • Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research will publish articles in all aspects of hepatology. Hepatology, as a research discipline, has seen unprecedented growth especially in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hepatic health and disease, which continues to have a major impact on understanding liver development, stem cells, carcinogenesis, tissue engineering, injury, repair, regeneration, immunology, metabolism, fibrosis, and transplantation. Continued research and improved understanding in these areas will have a meaningful impact on liver disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The existing journal Gene Expression has expanded its focus to become Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research to meet this growing demand. In its revised and expanded scope, the journal will publish high-impact original articles, reviews, short but complete articles, and special articles (editorials, commentaries, opinions) on all aspects of hepatology, making it a unique and invaluable resource for readers interested in this field. The expanded team, led by an Editor-in-Chief who is uniquely qualified and a renowned expert, along with a dynamic and functional editorial board, is determined to make this a premier journal in the field of hepatology.

    From Volume 16, Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license.

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