Activated Kupffer cells and macrophages accumulate in necrotic areas in the liver. Osteopontin, an extracellular matrix with RGD sequence, has been shown to act as a chemokine that can induce monocyte migration. The possibility that osteopontin can play a role in infiltration of both cells into hepatic necrotic areas was investigated in rats. Northern blot analysis revealed that osteopontin mRNA expression was minimal in Kupffer cells and hepatocytes immediately after isolation from normal rats, but slight in hepatic stellate cells assumed nearly quiescent in function after 3 days of culture on plastic dishes. When rat received carbon tetrachloride, liver necrosis developed between 1 and 3 days following the intoxication. In these rats, osteopontin mRNA expression assessed by quantitative competitive RT-PCR was increased in the liver later than 1 day with its peak at 2 days following the intoxication. Kupffer cells and hepatic macrophages and hepatic stellate cells isolated from such liver showed marked expression of osteopontin mRNA on Northern blotting. Immunohistochemical examination disclosed that osteopontin was stained in macrophages including Kupffer cells and stellate cells in the necrotic areas. On electron microscopy, osteopontin stains were present in the Golgi apparatus in these cells. Recombinant human osteopontin promoted migration of Kupffer cells isolated from normal rats and cultured in a Transwell cell culture chamber in a dose-related manner. We conclude that activated Kupffer cells and hepatic macrophages and stellate cells express osteopontin. These cells might contribute to the infiltration of Kupffer cells and macrophages into hepatic necrotic areas by expressing osteopontin.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.