Human hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) demonstrated great immunological plasticity with important consequences for liver cell therapy. Activated HSCs (aHSCs) are in vitro reverted (rHSCs) to a quiescent-like phenotype with potential benefit to reduce liver fibrosis. The goal of this study is to establish and compare the immunological profile of activated and in vitro reverted HSCs and to investigate the impact of inflammatory priming on the immunobiology of both HSCs populations. The distribution of inflammatory primed activated and reverted HSCs across the different phases of the cell cycle is assessed by flow cytometry. In addition, Flow analysis was done to assess the expression level of neuronal, endothelial and stromal markers, cell adhesion molecules, human leucocyte antigens, co-stimulatory molecules, immunoregulatory molecules and natural killer ligands. Our results showed that the cell cycle distribution of both HSCs populations is significantly modulated by inflammation. Accordingly, activated HSC that were in G1 phase switch to S- and G2 phases when exposed to inflammation, while reverted HSCs mostly redistribute into sub-G0 phase. In a HSC state dependent manner, inflammatory priming modulated the expression of the stromal marker CD90, biological receptors (CD95 and CD200R), cell adhesion molecules (CD29, CD54, CD58, CD106 and CD166), human leucocyte antigen HLA-G, co-stimulatory molecules (CD40 and CD252), as well as the immunoregulatory molecules (CD200 and CD274). In conclusion, the immunologic profile of HSCs is significantly modulated by their activation state and inflammation and is important for the development of novel HSC liver cell-based therapy.
Keywords: Activation; Cell cycle; Hepatic stellate cell; Inflammation; Reversion.
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