Combination of G-CSF and a TLR4 inhibitor reduce inflammation and promote regeneration in a mouse model of ACLF

Cornelius Engelmann, Abeba Habtesion, Mohsin Hassan, Annarein JC Kerbert, Linda Hammerich, Simone Novelli, Marco Fidaleo, Alexandra Philips, Nathan Davies, Sofia Ferreira-Gonzalez, Stuart J. Forbes, Thomas Berg, Fausto Andreola, Rajiv Jalan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background & Aims: Acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) is characterised by high short-term mortality, systemic inflammation, and failure of hepatic regeneration. Its treatment is a major unmet medical need. This study was conducted to explore whether combining TAK-242, a Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) antagonist, with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), could reduce inflammation whilst enhancing liver regeneration. Methods: Two mouse models of ACLF were investigated. Chronic liver injury was induced by carbon tetrachloride; lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or galactosamine (GalN) were then administered as extrahepatic or hepatic insults, respectively. G-CSF and/or TAK-242 were administered daily. Treatment durations were 24 hours and 5 days in the LPS model and 48 hours in the GalN model. Results: In a mouse model of LPS-induced ACLF, treatment with G-CSF was associated with significant mortality (66% after 48 hours vs. 0% without G-CSF). Addition of TAK-242 to G-CSF abrogated mortality (0%) and significantly reduced liver cell death, macrophage infiltration and inflammation. In the GalN model, both G-CSF and TAK-242, when used individually, reduced liver injury but their combination was significantly more effective. G-CSF treatment, with or without TAK-242, was associated with activation of the pro-regenerative and anti-apoptotic STAT3 pathway. LPS-driven ACLF was characterised by p21 overexpression, which is indicative of hepatic senescence and inhibition of hepatocyte regeneration. While TAK-242 treatment mitigated the effect on senescence, G-CSF, when co-administered with TAK-242, resulted in a significant increase in markers of hepatocyte regeneration. Conclusion: The combination of TAK-242 and G-CSF inhibits inflammation, promotes hepatic regeneration and prevents mortality in models of ACLF; thus, this combination could be a potential treatment option for ACLF. Lay summary: Acute-on-chronic liver failure is associated with severe liver inflammation and poor short-term survival. Therefore, effective treatments are urgently needed. Herein, we have shown, using mouse models, that the combination of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (which can promote liver regeneration) and TAK-242 (which inhibits a receptor that plays a key role in inflammation) could be effective for the treatment of acute-on-chronic liver failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1325-1338
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • liver failure
  • regeneration
  • senescence
  • stem cell therapy
  • systemic inflammation


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