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Open Access Bile Duct Ligation Induces ATZ Globule Clearance in a Mouse Model of α-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

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α-1 Antitrypsin deficiency (A1ATD) can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma; however, not all patients are susceptible to severe liver disease. In A1ATD, a toxic gain-of-function mutation generates insoluble ATZ “globules” in hepatocytes, overwhelming protein clearance mechanisms. The relationship between bile acids and hepatocytic autophagy is less clear but may involve altered gene expression pathways. Based on previous findings that bile duct ligation (BDL) induces autophagy, we hypothesized that retained bile acids may have hepatoprotective effects in PiZZ transgenic mice, which model A1ATD. We performed BDL and partial BDL (pBDL) in PiZZ mice, followed by analysis of liver tissues. PiZZ liver subjected to BDL showed up to 50% clearance of ATZ globules, with increased expression of autophagy proteins. Analysis of transcription factors revealed significant changes. Surprisingly nuclear TFEB, a master regulator of autophagy, remained unchanged. pBDL confirmed that ATZ globule clearance was induced by localized stimuli rather than diet or systemic effects. Several genes involved in bile metabolism were overexpressed in globule-devoid hepatocytes, compared to globule-containing cells. Retained bile acids led to a dramatic reduction of ATZ globules, with enhanced hepatocyte regeneration and autophagy. These findings support investigation of synthetic bile acids as potential autophagy-enhancing agents.
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Keywords: Autophagy; Cholestasis; Hepatocyte; Liver regeneration; PiZZ

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Publication date: February 10, 2017

This article was made available online on August 18, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "BILE DUCT LIGATION INDUCES ATZ GLOBULE CLEARANCE IN A MOUSE MODEL OF ALPHA-1 ANTITRYPSIN DEFICIENCY".

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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.
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