Loss of c-Jun N-terminal Kinase 1 and 2 Function in Liver Epithelial Cells Triggers Biliary Hyperproliferation Resembling Cholangiocarcinoma

Francisco Javier Cubero*, Mohamed Ramadan Mohamed, Marius M. Woitok, Gang Zhao, Maximilian Hatting, Yulia A. Nevzorova, Chaobo Chen, Johannes Haybaeck, Alain de Bruin, Matias A. Avila, Mark Boekschoten, Roger J. Davis, Christian Trautwein

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    10 Citaten (Scopus)
    38 Downloads (Pure)


    Targeted inhibition of the c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) has shown therapeutic potential in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CCA)-related tumorigenesis. However, the cell-type-specific role and mechanisms triggered by JNK in liver parenchymal cells during CCA remain largely unknown. Here, we aimed to investigate the relevance of JNK1 and JNK2 function in hepatocytes in two different models of experimental carcinogenesis, the dethylnitrosamine (DEN) model and in nuclear factor kappa B essential modulator (NEMO)(hepatocyte-specific knockout (Delta hepa)) mice, focusing on liver damage, cell death, compensatory proliferation, fibrogenesis, and tumor development. Moreover, regulation of essential genes was assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, immunoblottings, and immunostainings. Additionally, specific Jnk2 inhibition in hepatocytes of NEMO Delta hepa/JNK1(Delta hepa) mice was performed using small interfering (si) RNA (siJnk2) nanodelivery. Finally, active signaling pathways were blocked using specific inhibitors. Compound deletion of Jnk1 and Jnk2 in hepatocytes diminished hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in both the DEN model and in NEMO Delta hepa mice but in contrast caused massive proliferation of the biliary ducts. Indeed, Jnk1/2 deficiency in hepatocytes of NEMO Delta hepa (NEMO Delta hepa/JNK(Delta hepa)) animals caused elevated fibrosis, increased apoptosis, increased compensatory proliferation, and elevated inflammatory cytokines expression but reduced HCC. Furthermore, siJnk2 treatment in NEMO Delta hepa/JNK1(Delta hepa) mice recapitulated the phenotype of NEMO Delta hepa/JNK(Delta hepa) mice. Next, we sought to investigate the impact of molecular pathways in response to compound JNK deficiency in NEMO Delta hepa mice. We found that NEMO Delta hepa/JNK(Delta hepa) livers exhibited overexpression of the interleukin-6/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 pathway in addition to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma (Raf)-mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) cascade. The functional relevance was tested by administering lapatinib, which is a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of erythroblastic oncogene B-2 (ErbB2) and EGFR signaling, to NEMO Delta hepa/JNK(Delta hepa) mice. Lapatinib effectively inhibited cystogenesis, improved transaminases, and effectively blocked EGFR-Raf-MEK-ERK signaling. Conclusion: We define a novel function of JNK1/2 in cholangiocyte hyperproliferation. This opens new therapeutic avenues devised to inhibit pathways of cholangiocarcinogenesis.

    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)834-851
    Aantal pagina's18
    TijdschriftHepatology communications
    Nummer van het tijdschrift6
    StatusPublished - jun-2020

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