Chronic inflammation in the liver provokes fibrosis and, on long-term, carcinogenesis. This sequence is prototypically recapitulated in mice with hepatocyte-specific knock-out of the NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO), termed NEMOLPC-KO mice, in which increased hepatocyte apoptosis and compensatory regeneration cause steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis. Natural killer T (NKT) cells carrying the chemokine receptor CXCR6 participate in liver inflammation and injury responses. Here, we investigated the role of CXCR6 in the NEMOLPC-KO mouse model. Unexpectedly, genetic deletion of CXCR6 enhanced hepatocyte death, inflammation and fibrosis in NEMOLPC-KO mice. Although CXCR6 expression is restricted to immune cells in the liver, the adoptive transfer of CXCR6+ cells did not protect NEMOLPC-KOCxcr6−/− mice from hepatic injury. Gene array analyses revealed up-regulated stress response and metabolism pathways in hepatocytes from NEMOLPC-KOCxcr6−/− mice, functionally corresponding to an increased susceptibility of these hepatocytes to TNFα-induced cell death in vitro. These data revealed a novel CXCR6-dependent mechanism of suppressing inflammatory hepatocytic responses to cellular stress.
|Number of pages
|Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
|Published - 1 Feb 2019
- Chemokine receptor
- Liver fibrosis