Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells in disease - And for therapy?

Benjamin M Stutchfield, Stuart J Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Background & Aims: Capillarization, characterized by loss of differentiation of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs), precedes the onset of hepatic fibrosis. We investigated whether restoration of LSEC differentiation would normalize crosstalk with activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and thereby promote quiescence of HSC and regression of fibrosis.

Methods: Rat LSECs were cultured with inhibitors and/or agonists and examined by scanning electron microscopy for fenestrae in sieve plates. Cirrhosis was induced in rats using thioacetamide, followed by administration of BAY 60-2770, an activator of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). Fibrosis was assessed by Sirius red staining; expression of α-smooth muscle actin was measured by immunoblot analysis.

Results: Maintenance of LSEC differentiation requires vascular endothelial growth factor-A stimulation of nitric oxide-dependent signaling (via sGC and cyclic guanosine monophosphate) and nitric oxide-independent signaling. In rats with thioacetamide-induced cirrhosis, BAY 60-2770 accelerated the complete reversal of capillarization (restored differentiation of LSECs) without directly affecting activation of HSCs or fibrosis. Restoration of differentiation to LSECs led to quiescence of HSCs and regression of fibrosis in the absence of further exposure to BAY 60-2770. Activation of sGC with BAY 60-2770 prevented progression of cirrhosis, despite continued administration of thioacetamide.

Conclusions: The state of LSEC differentiation plays a pivotal role in HSC activation and the fibrotic process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-180
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


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