Sympathetic Nervous System Catecholamines and Neuropeptide Y Neurotransmitters Are Upregulated in Human NAFLD and Modulate the Fibrogenic Function of Hepatic Stellate Cells

Barbara Sigala, Chad McKee, Junpei Soeda, Valerio Pazienza, Maelle Morgan, Ching I. Lin, Clare Selden, Sara Vander Borght, Gianluigi Mazzoccoli, Tania Roskams, Manlio Vinciguerra, Jude A. Oben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere72928
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 3 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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