Background and Aim: Little is known about the role of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in biliary fibrosis in the setting of bacterial colonization of the biliary tree. We therefore sought to investigate whether exposure to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) alters PDGF isoform and receptor expression in cultured rat common bile duct fibroblasts (CBDF) and normal rat cholangiocytes (NRC).
Methods: Collagen content in cells and media was assessed by colorimetric assay and gel electrophoresis. mRNA levels of PDGF-A and -B, and PDGF-Receptors (PDGF-R) α and β were measured by relative quantitative real-time PCR. Protein levels of PDGF-AA, AB and BB were measured by ELISA, and PDGF-Rα and PDGF-Rβ by Western blot.
Results: In CBDF, LPS increased total soluble collagen synthesis and secretion. PDGF-Rα and β mRNA and protein were also increased by LPS treatment in CBDF. Lipopolysaccharide treatment elicited an increase in PDGF-A and -B mRNA levels in CBDF. In NRC, levels of PDGF-A mRNA increased in a dose-dependent fashion following LPS treatment, whereas PDGF-B mRNA showed no response. PDGF-AA secretion was higher by CBDF than by NRC. PDGF-BB levels were also higher in CBDF than in NRC. While PDGF-BB levels did not respond to LPS treatment in CBDF, there was a dose-dependent response of this isoform to LPS in NRC. Intracellular and secreted PDGF-AB increased with LPS treatment in NRC.
Conclusions: These results support a model in which chronic bacterial colonization of the biliary tree induces fibrosis through PDGF-dependent mechanisms.