Perturbation of Specific Signaling Pathways Is Involved in Initiation of Mouse Liver Fibrosis

Liping Chen, Ping Guo, Wenxue Li, Fei Fang, Wei Zhu, Junling Fan, Fangping Wang, Yuanyuan Gao, Qun Zhao, Qing Wang, Yongmei Xiao, Xiumei Xing, Daochuan Li, Tieliu Shi, Dianke Yu, Michael Aschner, Lihua Zhang, Wen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: To identify the regulatory role of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) in the development of liver disease, we generated a mouse model with hepatocyte-specific deletion of Ppp2r1a gene (encoding PP2A Aα subunit). Approach and Results: Homozygote (HO) mice and matched wild-type littermates were investigated at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 months of age. Pathological examination showed that PP2A Aα deficiency in hepatocytes resulted in progressive liver fibrosis phenotype from 9 months of age. No hepatocyte death was observed in HO mice. However, perturbation of pathways including epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (EGFR1), amino acid metabolism, and translation factors as well as leptin and adiponectin led to pronounced hepatic fibrosis. In vitro studies demonstrated the involvement of specific B subunit complexes in the regulation of EGFR1 signaling pathway and cross talk between defected hepatocytes and stimulation of interstitial hyperplasia. It is noteworthy that HO mice failed to develop hepatocellular carcinoma for as long as 22 months of age. We further demonstrate that PP2A Aβ–containing holoenzymes played a critical role in preventing hepatocyte apoptosis and antagonizing tumorigenesis through specific pathways on Aα loss. Furthermore, PP2A Aα and Aβ were functionally distinct, and the Aβ isoform failed to substitute for Aα in the development of inflammation and liver fibrosis. Conclusions: These observations identify pathways that contribute to the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis and provide putative therapeutic targets for its treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1551-1569
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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