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Keywords:

  • Kupffer cells;
  • liver regeneration;
  • partial hepatectomy;
  • rats;
  • transcriptional profiling

Abstract

KCs (Kupffer cells), as an important hepatic immunoregulatory cells, play a key role in LR (liver regeneration). Uncovering the transcriptional profiling of KCs after PH (partial hepatectomy) would likely clarify its implication in LR. Here, we isolated KCs by methods of Percoll density gradient centrifugation and immunomagnetic beads. Transcriptional profiles of KCs were monitored up to 168 h post-PH using microarray. By comparing the expression profile of KCs at 2–168 h post-PH with that of the control and applying the statistical and bioinformatics criteria, we found 1407 known and 927 unknown genes related to LR. K-means clustering analysis grouped these 1407 genes into robust 14 time-course clusters representing distinct patterns of regulation. Based on gene-set enrichment analysis, genes encoding products involved in cytokine signalling, inflammatory response and cell chaemotaxis were highly enriched in the cluster characterized by gradual up-regulation and then return; genes in defence response and immune response were enriched in clusters ‘the general down-regulation during LR’; genes in fatty acid synthesis and sterol metabolism were preferentially distributed in the cluster ‘gradual increase’; whereas genes in the categories ‘lipid catabolism’ and ‘glycolysis’ were enriched in cluster ‘decrease at two intervals’. According to the above analysis, KCs were seemingly sensitive to operative stimulus; immune defence and detoxification function of KCs obviously dropped post-operatively; fatty acid synthesis were enhanced, whereas lipid catabolism and glycolysis were reduced after PH. This study provides a detailed in vivo gene expression profile of KCs, providing a framework to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the regeneration process at cellular level.