Wu J, Choi TY, Shin D et al.
Department of Developmental Biology, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Pittsburgh Liver Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.
Gene expression. Mar 2017.
The liver has a highly regenerative capacity. In the normal liver, hepatocytes proliferate to restore lost liver mass.However, when hepatocyte proliferation is impaired, biliary epithelial cells (BECs) activate and contribute to hepatocytes. We previously reported in zebrafish that upon severe hepatocyte ablation, BECs extensively contribute to regenerated hepatocytes. It was also speculated that BECdriven liver regeneration might occur in another zebrafish liver injury model in which temporary knockdown of the mitochondrial import gene tomm22 by morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (MO) induces hepatocyte death. Given the importance of multiple BEC-driven liver regeneration models for better elucidating the mechanisms underlying innate liver regeneration in the diseased liver, we hypothesized that BECs would contribute to hepatocytes in tomm22 MO-injected larvae. In this MO-based liver injury model, by tracing the lineage of BECs, we found that BECs significantly contributed to hepatocytes. Moreover, we found that surviving, pre-existing hepatocytes become BEC-hepatocyte hybrid cells in tomm22 MO-injected larvae. Intriguingly, both the inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and macrophage ablation suppressed the formation of the hybrid hepatocytes. This new liver injury model in which both hepatocytes and BECs contribute to regenerated hepatocytes will aid in better understanding the mechanisms of innate liver regeneration in the diseased liver.