• The BH3-only protein BID impairs the p38-mediated stress response and promotes hepatocarcinogenesis during chronic liver injury in mice.

      Orlik, Johanna; Schüngel, Sven; Buitrago-Molina, Laura Elisa; Marhenke, Silke; Geffers, Robert; Endig, Jessica; Lobschat, Katharina; Rössler, Stephanie; Goeppert, Benjamin; Manns, Michael P; et al. (2015-09)
      Apoptosis is critical for maintaining tissue homeostasis, and apoptosis evasion is considered as a hallmark of cancer. However, increasing evidence also suggests that proapoptotic molecules can contribute to the development of cancer, including liver cancer. The aim of this study was to further clarify the role of the proapoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 homology domain 3 (BH3)-only protein BH3 interacting-domain death agonist (BID) for chronic liver injury (CLI) and hepatocarcinogenesis (HCG). Loss of BID significantly delayed tumor development in two mouse models of Fah-mediated and HBsTg-driven HCG, suggesting a tumor-promoting effect of BID. Liver injury as well as basal and mitogen-stimulated hepatocyte proliferation were not modulated by BID. Moreover, there was no in vivo or in vitro evidence that BID was involved in DNA damage response in hepatocytes and hepatoma cells. Our data revealed that CLI was associated with strong activation of oxidative stress (OS) response and that BID impaired full activation of p38 after OS.
    • The degree of liver injury determines the role of p21 in liver regeneration and hepatocarcinogenesis in mice.

      Buitrago-Molina, Laura Elisa; Marhenke, Silke; Longerich, Thomas; Sharma, Amar Deep; Boukouris, Aristeidis E; Geffers, Robert; Guigas, Bruno; Manns, Michael P; Vogel, Arndt; Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Medical School Hannover, Hannover, Germany. (2013-09)
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) frequently arises in the context of chronic injury that promotes DNA damage and chromosomal aberrations. The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 is an important transcriptional target of several tumor suppressors, which promotes cell cycle arrest in response to many stimuli. The aim of this study was to further delineate the role of p21 in the liver during moderate and severe injury and to specify its role in the initiation and progression of HCC. Deletion of p21 led to continuous hepatocyte proliferation in mice with severe injury allowing animal survival but also facilitated rapid tumor development, suggesting that control of compensatory proliferation by high levels of p21 is critical to the prevention of tumor development. Unexpectedly, however, liver regeneration and hepatocarcinogenesis was impaired in p21-deficient mice with moderate injury. Mechanistically, loss of p21 was compensated by activation of Sestrin2, which impaired mitogenic mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and activated cytoprotective Nrf2 signaling. Conclusion: The degree of liver injury and the strength of p21 activation determine its effects on liver regeneration and tumor development in the liver. Moreover, our data uncover a molecular link in the complex mTOR, Nrf2, and p53/p21-signaling network through activation of Sestrin2, which regulates hepatocyte proliferation and tumor development in mice with liver injury. (Hepatology 2013;53:1143-1152).
    • Dual Role of the Adaptive Immune System in Liver Injury and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development.

      Endig, Jessica; Buitrago-Molina, Laura Elisa; Marhenke, Silke; Reisinger, Florian; Saborowski, Anna; Schütt, Jutta; Limbourg, Florian; Könecke, Christian; Schreder, Alina; Michael, Alina; et al. (2016-08-08)
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a classic example of inflammation-linked cancer. To characterize the role of the immune system in hepatic injury and tumor development, we comparatively studied the extent of liver disease and hepatocarcinogenesis in immunocompromised versus immunocompetent Fah-deficient mice. Strikingly, chronic liver injury and tumor development were markedly suppressed in alymphoid Fah(-/-) mice despite an overall increased mortality. Mechanistically, we show that CD8(+) T cells and lymphotoxin β are central mediators of HCC formation. Antibody-mediated depletion of CD8(+) T cells as well as pharmacological inhibition of the lymphotoxin-β receptor markedly delays tumor development in mice with chronic liver injury. Thus, our study unveils distinct functions of the immune system, which are required for liver regeneration, survival, and hepatocarcinogenesis.