Hypoxia is a common environmental stress factor and is associated with fibrogenesis. Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), produced by hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), plays an important role in liver fibrogenesis. However, inconsistent results have been reported on the impact of hypoxia on MMP-2 expression and activity in HSCs. We speculated that cell-cell interaction is involved in the regulation of MMP-2 expression and activity at low oxygen level in vivo. Therefore, in this report we investigated the mechanism by which hypoxic hepatocytes regulates MMP-2 expression in HSCs. Our results showed that the conditioned medium from hypoxia-treated rat hepatocytes strongly induced the expression of MMP-2 mRNA and protein in rat HSC-T6 cells. Reduced glutathione neutralized ROS released from hypoxic hepatocytes, leading to reduced MMP-2 expression in HSC-T6 cells. In addition, phospho-IκB-α protein level was increased in HSC-T6 cells treated with hypoxia conditioned medium, and NF-κB signaling inhibitor inhibited MMP-2 expression in HSC-T6 cells. Taken together, our data suggest that ROS is an important factor released by hypoxic hepatocytes to regulate MMP-2 expression in HSCs, and NF-κB signaling is crucially involved in ROS-induced MMP-2 expression in HSCs. Our findings suggest that strategies aimed at antagonizing the generation of ROS in hypoxic hepatocytes and inhibiting NF-κB signaling in HSCs may represent novel therapeutic options for liver fibrosis. © 2011 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Li, J., Fan, R., Zhao, S., Liu, L., Guo, S., Wu, N., … Chen, P. (2011). Reactive oxygen species released from hypoxic hepatocytes regulates MMP-2 expression in hepatic stellate cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 12(4), 2434–2447. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms12042434