Schistosoma japonicum Eggs Induce a Proinflammatory, Anti-Fibrogenic Phenotype in Hepatic Stellate Cells

Barrie J. Anthony, Kylie R. James, Geoffrey N. Gobert, Grant A. Ramm, Donald P. McManus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatic fibrosis induced by egg deposition is the most serious pathology associated with chronic schistosomiasis, in which the hepatic stellate cell (HSC) plays a central role. While the effect of Schistosoma mansoni eggs on the fibrogenic phenotype of HSCs has been investigated, studies determining the effect of eggs of S. japonicum on HSCs are lacking. Disease caused by S. japonicum is much more severe than that resulting from S. mansoni infection so it is important to compare the pathologies caused by these two parasites, to determine whether this phenotype is due to the species interacting differently with the mammalian host. Accordingly, we investigated the effect of S. japonicum eggs on the human HSC cell line, LX-2, with and without TGF-β (Transforming Growth Factor beta) co-treatment, so as to determine the impact on genes associated with fibrogenesis, inflammation and matrix re-organisation. Activation status of HSCs was assessed by αSMA (Alpha Smooth Muscle Actin) immunofluorescence, accumulation of Oil Red O-stained lipid droplets and the relative expression of selected genes associated with activation. The fibrogenic phenotype of HSCs was inhibited by the presence of eggs both with or without TGF-β treatment, as evidenced by a lack of αSMA staining and reduced gene expression of αSMA and Col1A1 (Collagen 1A1). Unlike S. mansoni-treated cells, however, expression of the quiescent HSC marker PPAR-γ (Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma) was not increased, nor was there accumulation of lipid droplets. In contrast, S. japonicum eggs induced the mRNA expression of MMP-9 (Matrix Metalloproteinase 9), CCL2 (Chemokine (C-C motif) Ligand 2) and IL-6 (Interleukin 6) in HSCs indicating that rather than inducing complete HSC quiescence, the eggs induced a proinflammatory phenotype. These results suggest HSCs in close proximity to S. japonicum eggs in the liver may play a role in the proinflammatory regulation of hepatic granuloma formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere68479
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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