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Open Access Single-Cell Gene Expression Analysis Identifies Chronic Alcohol-Mediated Shift in Hepatocyte Molecular States After Partial Hepatectomy

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The analysis of molecular states of individual cells, as defined by their mRNA expression profiles and protein composition, has gained widespread interest in studying biological phenomena ranging from embryonic development to homeostatic tissue function and genesis and evolution of cancers. Although the molecular content of individual cells in a tissue can vary widely, their molecular states tend to be constrained within a transcriptional landscape partly described by the canonical archetypes of a population of cells. In this study, we sought to characterize the effects of an acute (partial hepatectomy) and chronic (alcohol consumption) perturbation on the molecular states of individual hepatocytes during the onset and progression of liver regeneration. We analyzed the expression of 84 genes across 233 individual hepatocytes acquired using laser capture microdissection. Analysis of the single-cell data revealed that hepatocyte molecular states can be considered as distributed across a set of four states irrespective of perturbation, with the proportions of hepatocytes in these states being dependent on the perturbation. In addition to the quiescent, primed, and replicating hepatocytes, we identified a fourth molecular state lying between the primed and replicating subpopulations. Comparison of the proportions of hepatocytes from each experimental condition in these four molecular states suggested that, in addition to aberrant priming, a slower transition from primed to replication state could contribute toward ethanol-mediated suppression of liver regenerative response to partial hepatectomy.
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Keywords: Alcohol-induced liver injury—chronic; Cell and molecular biology; Hepatocyte biology; Liver regeneration; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); Partial hepatectomy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Daniel Baugh Institute for Functional Genomics and Computational Biology, Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Publication date: April 18, 2019

This article was made available online on September 6, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Single cell gene expression analysis identifies chronic alcohol-mediated shift in hepatocyte molecular states after partial hepatectomy".

More about this publication?
  • 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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