BMP-7 attenuates liver fibrosis via regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor

Li-Ping Wang, Jin-Zhong Dong, Li-Jun Xiong, Ke-Qing Shi, Zhuo-Lin Zou, Sai-Nan Zhang, Su-Ting Cao, Zhuo Lin, Yong-Ping Chen
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology 2014, 7 (7): 3537-47
The aim of this study was to elucidate the effect of bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP-7) on liver fibrosis induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in vivo and on the hepatic stellate cells (HSC) activation in vitro. In vivo, thirty male ICR mice were randomly allocated to three groups, the control group (n = 6), the CCl4 group (n = 18) and the BMP-7+CCl4 group (n = 6). The model of liver fibrosis was induced by intraperitoneal injection with CCl4 three times per week lasting for 12 weeks in CCl4 group and the BMP-7+CCl4 group. After 8 weeks injection with CCl4, mice were intraperitoneal injected with human recombinant BMP-7 in BMP-7+CCl4 group. Meanwhile, mice in the CCl4 group were only intraperitoneal injection with equal amount of saline. The degree of liver fibrosis was assessed by HE and Masson's staining. PCR and western blot were used to detect mRNA and protein levels. In BMP-7+CCl4 group, serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aminotransferase (AST) were decreased and serum albumin (Alb) was increased. Meanwhile, the expressions of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) were down-regulated by BMP-7 intervention as compared to the CCl4 group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, BMP-7 also suppressed the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and phosphorylated-epidermal growth factor receptor (pEGFR). HE and Masson stain showed that liver damage was alleviated in BMP-7+CCl4 group. In vitro study, expression of EGFR, TGF-β1 and α-SMA were down regulated by BMP-7 dose-dependently, indicating it might effect on suppression of HSC activation. Therefore, our data indicate BMP-7 was capable of inhibiting liver fibrosis and suppressing HSCs activation, and these effects might rely on its crosstalk with EGFR and TGF-β1. We suggest that BMP-7 may be a potential reagentfor the prevention and treatment of liver fibrosis.

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