Hepatic Wnt1 Inducible Signaling Pathway Protein 1 (WISP-1/CCN4) Associates with Markers of Liver Fibrosis in Severe Obesity

pubmed: wnt1 2021-05-07

Cells. 2021 Apr 29;10(5):1048. doi: 10.3390/cells10051048.


Liver fibrosis is a critical complication of obesity-induced fatty liver disease. Wnt1 inducible signaling pathway protein 1 (WISP1/CCN4), a novel adipokine associated with visceral obesity and insulin resistance, also contributes to lung and kidney fibrosis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of CCN4 in liver fibrosis in severe obesity. For this, human liver biopsies were collected from 35 severely obese humans (BMI 42.5 ± 0.7 kg/m2, age 46.7 ± 1.8 y, 25.7% males) during bariatric surgery and examined for the expression of CCN4, fibrosis, and inflammation markers. Hepatic stellate LX-2 cells were treated with human recombinant CCN4 alone or in combination with LPS or transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) and examined for fibrosis and inflammation markers. CCN4 mRNA expression in the liver positively correlated with BMI and expression of fibrosis markers COL1A1, COL3A1, COL6A1, αSMA, TGFB1, extracellular matrix turnover enzymes TIMP1 and MMP9, and the inflammatory marker ITGAX/CD11c. In LX-2 cells, the exposure to recombinant CCN4 caused dose-dependent induction of MMP9 and MCP1. CCN4 potentiated the TGF-β-mediated induction of COL3A1, TIMP1, and MCP1 but showed no interaction with LPS treatment. Our results suggest a potential contribution of CCN4 to the early pathogenesis of obesity-associated liver fibrosis.

PMID:33946738 | DOI:10.3390/cells10051048