Genome-wide transcriptome analysis identifies novel gene signatures implicated in human chronic liver disease

Rana V. Smalling, Don A. Delker, Yuxia Zhang, Natalia Nieto, Michael S. Mcguiness, Shuanghu Liu, Scott L. Friedman, Curt H. Hagedorn, Li Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The molecular mechanisms behind human liver disease progression to cirrhosis remain elusive. Nuclear receptor small heterodimer partner (SHP/Nr0b2) is a hepatic tumor suppressor and a critical regulator of liver function. SHP expression is diminished in human cirrhotic livers, suggesting a regulatory role in human liver diseases. The goal of this study was to identify novel SHP-regulated genes that are involved in the development and progression of chronic liver disease. To achieve this, we conducted the first comprehensive RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of Shp-/- mice, compared the results with human hepatitis C cirrhosis RNA-seq and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) microarray datasets, and verified novel results in human liver biospecimens. This approach revealed new gene signatures associated with chronic liver disease and regulated by SHP. Several genes were selected for validation of physiological relevance based on their marked upregulation, novelty with regard to liver function, and involvement in gene pathways related to liver disease. These genes include peptidoglycan recognition protein 2, dual specific phosphatase-4, tetraspanin 4, thrombospondin 1, and SPARC-related modular calcium binding protein-2, which were validated by qPCR analysis of 126 human liver specimens, including steatosis, fibrosis, and NASH, alcohol and hepatitis C cirrhosis, and in mouse models of liver inflammation and injury. This RNA-seq analysis identifies new genes that are regulated by the nuclear receptor SHP and implicated in the molecular pathogenesis of human chronic liver diseases. The results provide valuable transcriptome information for characterizing mechanisms of these diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G364-G374
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2013


  • C virus
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Gene expression
  • Human chronic liver diseases
  • Knockout mice
  • Ribonucleic acid sequencing
  • Small heterodimer partner


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