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Role of Hepatocyte Senescence in the Activation of Hepatic Stellate Cells and Liver Fibrosis Progression

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Fiona OakleyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Hepatocyte senescence is associated with liver fibrosis. However, the possibility of a direct, causal relation between hepatocyte senescence and hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation was the subject of this study. Liver biopsy specimens obtained from 50 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a spectrum of liver fibrosis stages were stained for p16, ╬▒SMA, and picrosirius red (PSR). Primary human HSCs were cultured in conditioned media derived from senescent or control HepG2 cells. Expression of inflammatory and fibrogenic genes in HSCs cultured in conditioned media were studied using RT-PCR. ELISAs were undertaken to measure factors known to activate HSCs in the conditioned media from senescent and control HepG2 cells and serum samples from healthy volunteers or patients with biopsy-proven cirrhosis. There was a strong association between proportion of senescent hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cell activation. Both proportion of hepatocyte senescence and hepatic stellate cell activation were closely associated with fibrosis stage. Inflammatory and fibrogenic genes were up-regulated significantly in HSCs cultured in conditioned media from senescent HepG2 cells compared with control HepG2 cells. PDGF levels were significantly higher in the conditioned media from senescent hepatocytes than control HepG2-conditioned media, and in serum samples from patients with cirrhosis than healthy volunteers. In conclusion, this 'proof of concept' study revealed activation of human HSCs by media from senescent HepG2 cells, indicating direct involvement of factors secreted by senescent hepatocytes in liver fibrosis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wijayasiri P, Astbury S, Kaye P, Oakley F, Alexander GJ, Kendall TJ, Aravinthan AD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cells

Year: 2022

Volume: 11

Issue: 14

Online publication date: 17/07/2022

Acceptance date: 15/07/2022

Date deposited: 11/08/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4409

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/cells11142221

PubMed id: 35883664


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