Deficiency of NOX1 or NOX4 Prevents Liver Inflammation and Fibrosis in Mice through Inhibition of Hepatic Stellate Cell Activation

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 29;10(7):e0129743. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129743. eCollection 2015.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase (NOX) play a key role in liver injury and fibrosis. Previous studies demonstrated that GKT137831, a dual NOX1/4 inhibitor, attenuated liver fibrosis in mice as well as pro-fibrotic genes in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) as well as hepatocyte apoptosis. The effect of NOX1 and NOX4 deficiency in liver fibrosis is unclear, and has never been directly compared. HSCs are the primary myofibroblasts in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis. Therefore, we aimed to determine the role of NOX1 and NOX4 in liver fibrosis, and investigated whether NOX1 and NOX4 signaling mediates liver fibrosis by regulating HSC activation. Mice were treated with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) to induce liver fibrosis. Deficiency of either NOX1 or NOX4 attenuates liver injury, inflammation, and fibrosis after CCl4 compared to wild-type mice. NOX1 or NOX4 deficiency reduced lipid peroxidation and ROS production in mice with liver fibrosis. NOX1 and NOX4 deficiency are approximately equally effective in preventing liver injury in the mice. The NOX1/4 dual inhibitor GKT137831 suppressed ROS production as well as inflammatory and proliferative genes induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), or sonic hedgehog (Shh) in primary mouse HSCs. Furthermore, the mRNAs of proliferative and pro-fibrotic genes were downregulated in NOX1 and NOX4 knock-out activated HSCs (cultured on plastic for 5 days). Finally, NOX1 and NOX4 protein levels were increased in human livers with cirrhosis compared with normal controls. Thus, NOX1 and NOX4 signaling mediates the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis, including the direct activation of HSC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning / genetics
  • Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning / metabolism
  • Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning / pathology
  • Hedgehog Proteins / genetics
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / metabolism*
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / pathology
  • Hepatitis / genetics
  • Hepatitis / metabolism*
  • Hepatitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / genetics
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myofibroblasts / metabolism
  • Myofibroblasts / pathology
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NADPH Oxidases / chemistry
  • NADPH Oxidases / genetics
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / genetics
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Pyrazoles / metabolism
  • Pyrazolones
  • Pyridines / metabolism
  • Pyridones
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrazolones
  • Pyridines
  • Pyridones
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • SHH protein, human
  • Shh protein, mouse
  • setanaxib
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • NOX1 protein, human
  • NOX1 protein, mouse
  • NOX4 protein, human
  • Nox4 protein, mouse