IGF-1R Contributes to Stress-Induced Hepatocellular Damage in Experimental Cholestasis

Am J Pathol. 2009 Aug;175(2):627-35. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.081081. Epub 2009 Jul 23.


The insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor (IGF-1R) controls aging and cellular stress, both of which play major roles in liver disease. Stimulation of insulin-like growth factor signaling can generate cell death in vitro. Here, we tested whether IGF-1R contributes to stress insult in the liver. Cholestatic liver injury was induced by bile duct ligation in control and liver-specific IGF-1R knockout (LIGFREKO) mice. LIGFREKO mice displayed less bile duct ligation-induced hepatocyte damage than controls, while no differences in bile acid serum levels or better adaptation to cholestasis by efflux transporters were found. We therefore tested whether stress pathways contributed to this phenomenon; oxidative stress, ascertained by both malondialdehyde content and heme oxygenase-1 expression, was similar in knockout and control animals. However, together with a lower level of eukaryotic initiation factor-2 alpha phosphorylation, the endoplasmic reticulum stress protein CHOP and its downstream pro-apoptotic target Bax were induced to lesser extents in LIGFREKO mice than in controls. Expression levels of cytokeratin 19, transforming growth factor-beta1, alpha-smooth muscle actin, and collagen alpha1(I) in LIGFREKO mice were all lower than in controls, indicating reduced ductular and fibrogenic responses and increased cholestasis tolerance in these mutants. This stress resistance phenotype was also evidenced by longer post-bile duct ligation survival in mutants than controls. These results indicate that IGF-1R contributes to cholestatic liver injury, and suggests the involvement of both CHOP and Bax in this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholestasis / complications
  • Cholestasis / genetics
  • Cholestasis / pathology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / pathology
  • Gene Deletion
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Transcription Factor CHOP / metabolism
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Ddit3 protein, mouse
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Transcription Factor CHOP
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1