Activin a-smad signaling mediates connective tissue growth factor synthesis in liver progenitor cells

Academic Article


  • © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Liver progenitor cells (LPCs) are activated in chronic liver damage and may contribute to liver fibrosis. Our previous investigation reported that LPCs produced connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2), an inducer of liver fibrosis, yet the regulatory mechanism of the production of CTGF/CCN2 in LPCs remains elusive. In this study, we report that Activin A is an inducer of CTGF/CCN2 in LPCs. Here we show that expression of both Activin A and CTGF/CCN2 were upregulated in the cirrhotic liver, and the expression of Activin A positively correlates with that of CTGF/CCN2 in liver tissues. We go on to show that Activin A induced de novo synthesis of CTGF/CCN2 in LPC cell lines LE/6 and WB-F344. Furthermore, Activin A contributed to autonomous production of CTGF/CCN2 in liver progenitor cells (LPCs) via activation of the Smad signaling pathway. Smad2, 3 and 4 were all required for this induction. Collectively, these results provide evidence for the fibrotic role of LPCs in the liver and suggest that the Activin A-Smad-CTGF/CCN2 signaling in LPCs may be a therapeutic target of liver fibrosis.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ding ZY; Jin GN; Wang W; Sun YM; Chen WX; Chen L; Liang HF; Datta PK; Zhang MZ; Zhang B
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 3