Role of histone deacetylases(HDACs) in progression and reversal of liver fibrosis

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Liver fibrosis refers to a reversible wound healing process response to chronic liver injuries. Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) is closely correlated with the development of liver fibrosis. Histone deacetylases(HDACs) determine the acetylation levels of core histones to modulate expression of genes. To demonstrate the link between HDACs and liver fibrosis, CCl4-induced mouse liver fibrosis model and its spontaneous reversal model were established. Results of the current study demonstrated that deregulation of liver HDACs may involved in the development of liver fibrosis. Among 11 HDACs tested in our study (Class I, II, and IV HDACs), expression of HDAC2 was maximally increased in CCl4-induced fibrotic livers but decreased after spontaneous recovery. Moreover, expression of HDAC2 was elevated in human liver fibrotic tissues. In this regard, the potential role of HDAC2 in liver fibrosis was further evaluated. Our results showed that administration of HSC-T6 cells with transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) resulted in an increase of HDAC2 protein expression in dose- and time-dependent manners. Moreover, HDAC2 deficiency inhibited HSC-T6 cell proliferation and activation induced by TGF-β1. More importantly, the present study showed HDAC2 may regulate HSCs activation by suppressing expression of Smad7, which is a negative modulator in HSCs activation and liver fibrosis. Collectively, these observations revealed that HDAC2 may play a pivotal role in HSCs activation and liver fibrosis while deregulation of HDACs may serve as a novel mechanism underlying liver fibrosis.HighlightsThis is the first report to systematically examine expressions of HDACs during liver fibrosis and fibrosis reversal.Aberrant expression of HDAC2 contributes to the development of liver fibrosis.Provided important foundation for further liver fibrosis conversion studies.

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