Epigenetic regulation of connective tissue growth factor by MicroRNA-214 delivery in exosomes from mouse or human hepatic stellate cells

Authors

  • Li Chen,

    1. Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
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  • Alyssa Charrier,

    1. Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
    2. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Program, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Yu Zhou,

    1. Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
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  • Ruju Chen,

    1. Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
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  • Bo Yu,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    2. Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Kitty Agarwal,

    1. Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    2. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Hidekazu Tsukamoto,

    1. Department of Pathology, Southern California Research Center for Alcoholic Liver and Pancreatic Diseases and Cirrhosis, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
    2. Department of Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA
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  • L. James Lee,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    2. Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Michael E. Paulaitis,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    2. Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • David R. Brigstock

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
    2. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Program, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    3. Department of Surgery, Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    • Address reprint request to: David Brigstock, Ph.D., Room 2011, Research Building 2, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Dr., Columbus OH 43205. E-mail: David.Brigstock@NationwideChildrens.Org. Tel: 614-355-2824.

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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • Supported by NIH grants R01 AA021276, R01 AA016003 (to D.R.B.) and P50AA011099 (to H.T.), the latter of which supported the tissue-sharing program that provide liver samples from the mouse intragastric feeding model.

Abstract

Connective tissue growth factor (CCN2) drives fibrogenesis in hepatic stellate cells (HSC). Here we show that CCN2 up-regulation in fibrotic or steatotic livers, or in culture-activated or ethanol-treated primary mouse HSC, is associated with a reciprocal down-regulation of microRNA-214 (miR-214). By using protector or reporter assays to investigate the 3′-untranslated region (UTR) of CCN2 mRNA, we found that induction of CCN2 expression in HSC by fibrosis-inducing stimuli was due to reduced expression of miR-214, which otherwise inhibited CCN2 expression by directly binding to the CCN2 3′-UTR. Additionally, miR-214 was present in HSC exosomes, which were bi-membrane vesicles, 50-150 nm in diameter, negatively charged (−26 mV), and positive for CD9. MiR-214 levels in exosomes but not in cell lysates were reduced by pretreatment of the cells with the exosome inhibitor, GW4869. Coculture of either quiescent HSC or miR-214-transfected activated HSC with CCN2 3′-UTR luciferase reporter-transfected recipient HSC resulted in miR-214- and exosome-dependent regulation of a wild-type CCN2 3′-UTR reporter but not of a mutant CCN2 3′-UTR reporter lacking the miR-214 binding site. Exosomes from HSC were a conduit for uptake of miR-214 by primary mouse hepatocytes. Down-regulation of CCN2 expression by miR-214 also occurred in human LX-2 HSC, consistent with a conserved miR-214 binding site in the human CCN2 3′-UTR. MiR-214 in LX-2 cells was shuttled by way of exosomes to recipient LX-2 cells or human HepG2 hepatocytes, resulting in suppression of CCN2 3′-UTR activity or expression of CCN2 downstream targets, including alpha smooth muscle actin or collagen. Experimental fibrosis in mice was associated with reduced circulating miR-214 levels. Conclusion: Exosomal transfer of miR-214 is a paradigm for the regulation of CCN2-dependent fibrogenesis and identifies fibrotic pathways as targets of intercellular regulation by exosomal miRs. (Hepatology 2014;59:1118–1129)

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