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Exploring organ-specific features of fibrogenesis using murine precision-cut tissue slices

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  • Emilia Bigaeva, University of Groningen
  • ,
  • Emilia Gore, University of Groningen
  • ,
  • Henricus A.M. Mutsaers
  • Dorenda Oosterhuis, University of Groningen
  • ,
  • Yong Ook Kim, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • ,
  • Detlef Schuppan, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Harvard Medical School
  • ,
  • Ruud A. Bank, University of Groningen
  • ,
  • Miriam Boersema, University of Groningen
  • ,
  • Peter Olinga, University of Groningen

Fibrosis is the hallmark of pathologic tissue remodelling in most chronic diseases. Despite advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of fibrosis, it remains uncured. Fibrogenic processes share conserved core cellular and molecular pathways across organs. In this study, we aimed to elucidate shared and organ-specific features of fibrosis using murine precision-cut tissue slices (PCTS) prepared from small intestine, liver and kidneys. PCTS displayed substantial differences in their baseline gene expression profiles: 70% of the extracellular matrix (ECM)-related genes were differentially expressed across the organs. Culture for 48 h induced significant changes in ECM regulation and triggered the onset of fibrogenesis in all PCTS in organ-specific manner. TGFβ signalling was activated during 48 h culture in all PCTS. However, the degree of its involvement varied: both canonical and non-canonical TGFβ pathways were activated in liver and kidney slices, while only canonical, Smad-dependent, cascade was involved in intestinal slices. The treatment with galunisertib blocked the TGFβRI/SMAD2 signalling in all PCTS, but attenuated culture-induced dysregulation of ECM homeostasis and mitigated the onset of fibrogenesis with organ-specificity. In conclusion, regardless the many common features in pathophysiology of organ fibrosis, PCTS displayed diversity in culture-induced responses and in response to the treatment with TGFβRI kinase inhibitor galunisertib, even though it targets a core fibrosis pathway. A clear understanding of the common and organ-specific features of fibrosis is the basis for developing novel antifibrotic therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165582
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Fibrosis, Precision-cut tissue slices, SMAD2, TGFβ

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