Nogo-B (reticulon 4B) accentuates hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis, but the mechanism remains unclear. The aim of this study was to identify the role of Nogo-B in hepatic stellate cell (HSC) apoptosis in cirrhotic livers. Cirrhosis was generated by carbon tetrachloride inhalation in wild-type (WT) and Nogo-A/B knockout (Nogo-B KO) mice. HSCs were isolated from WT and Nogo-B KO mice and cultured for activation and transformation to myofibroblasts (MF-HSCs). Human hepatic stellate cells (LX2 cells) were used to assess apoptotic responses of activated HSCs after silencing or overexpressing Nogo-B. Livers from cirrhotic Nogo-B KO mice showed significantly reduced fibrosis (P < 0.05) compared with WT mice. Apoptotic cells were more prominent in fibrotic areas of cirrhotic Nogo-B KO livers. Nogo-B KO MF-HSCs showed significantly increased levels of apoptotic markers, cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, and caspase-3 and -8 (P < 0.05) compared with WT MF-HSCs in response to staurosporine. Treatment with tunicamycin, an endoplasmic reticulum stress inducer, increased cleaved caspase-3 and -8 levels in Nogo-B KO MF-HSCs compared with WT MF-HSCs (P < 0.01). In LX2 cells, Nogo-B knockdown enhanced apoptosis in response to staurosporine, whereas Nogo-B overexpression inhibited apoptosis. The absence of Nogo-B enhances apoptosis of HSCs in experimental cirrhosis. Selective blockade of Nogo-B in HSCs may represent a potential therapeutic strategy to mitigate liver fibrosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine