Background:Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) signalling regulates murine hepatic fibrogenesis through effects on hepatic stellate cells (HSC), and obesity-related hypertension with SNS activation accelerates progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the commonest cause of chronic liver disease. NAFLD may lead to cirrhosis. The effects of the SNS neurotransmitters norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine (EPI) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) on human primary HSC (hHSC) function and in NAFLD pathogenesis are poorly understood.Aims:to determine the mechanistic effects of NE/EPI/NPY on phenotypic changes in cultured hHSC, and to study SNS signalling in human NAFLD livers.Methods:Freshly isolated hHSC were assessed for expression of cathecholamine/neuropeptide Y receptors and for the synthesis of NE/EPI. The effects of NE/EPI/NPY and adrenoceptor antagonists prazosin (PRZ)/propranolol (PRL) on hHSC fibrogenic functions and the involved kinases and interleukin pathways were examined. Human livers with proven NAFLD were then assessed for upregulation of SNS signalling components.Results:Activated hHSC express functional α/β-adrenoceptors and NPY receptors, which are upregulated in the livers of patients with cirrhotic NAFLD. hHSC in culture synthesize and release NE/EPI, required for their optimal basal growth and survival. Exogenous NE/EPI and NPY dose-dependently induced hHSC proliferation, mediated via p38 MAP, PI3K and MEK signalling. NE and EPI but not NPY increased expression of collagen-1α2 via TGF-β without involvement of the pro-fibrogenic cytokines leptin, IL-4 and IL-13 or the anti-fibrotic cytokine IL-10.Conclusions:hHSC synthesize and require cathecholamines for optimal survival and fibrogenic functionality. Activated hHSC express directly fibrogenic α/β-adrenoceptors and NPY receptors, upregulated in human cirrhotic NAFLD. Adrenoceptor and NPY antagonists may be novel anti-fibrotic agents in human NAFLD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)