Wang M, Gong Q, Zhang J et al.
Research Laboratory of Clinical Virology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China.
Scientific reports. Mar 2017.
Although hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the leading cause of liver fibrosis (LF), the mechanisms underlying liver fibrotic progression remain unclear. Here, we investigated the gene expression profiles of HBV-related LF patients. Whole genome expression arrays were used to detect gene expression in liver biopsy samples from chronically HBV infected patients. Through integrative data analysis, we identified several pathways and key genes involved in the initiation and exacerbation of liver fibrosis. Weight gene co-expression analysis revealed that integrin subunit β-like 1 (ITGBL1) was a key regulator of fibrogenesis. Functional experiments demonstrated that ITGBL1 was an upstream regulator of LF via interactions with transforming growth factor β1. In summary, we investigated the gene expression profiles of HBV-related LF patients and identified a key regulator ITGBL1. Our findings provide a foundation for future studies of gene functions and promote the development of novel antifibrotic therapies.