Interleukins-17 and 27 promote liver regeneration by sequentially inducing progenitor cell expansion and differentiation

Hepatol Commun. 2018 Jan 30;2(3):329-343. doi: 10.1002/hep4.1145. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Liver progenitor cells (LPCs)/ductular reactions (DRs) are associated with inflammation and implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic liver diseases. However, how inflammation regulates LPCs/DRs remains largely unknown. Identification of inflammatory processes that involve LPC activation and expansion represent a key step in understanding the pathogenesis of liver diseases. In the current study, we found that diverse types of chronic liver diseases are associated with elevation of infiltrated interleukin (IL)-17-positive (+) cells and cytokeratin 19 (CK19)+ LPCs, and both cell types colocalized and their numbers positively correlated with each other. The role of IL-17 in the induction of LPCs was examined in a mouse model fed a choline-deficient and ethionine-supplemented (CDE) diet. Feeding of wild-type mice with the CDE diet markedly elevated CK19+Ki67+ proliferating LPCs and hepatic inflammation. Disruption of the IL-17 gene or IL-27 receptor, alpha subunit (WSX-1) gene abolished CDE diet-induced LPC expansion and inflammation. In vitro treatment with IL-17 promoted proliferation of bipotential murine oval liver cells (a liver progenitor cell line) and markedly up-regulated IL-27 expression in macrophages. Treatment with IL-27 favored the differentiation of bipotential murine oval liver cells and freshly isolated LPCs into hepatocytes. Conclusion: The current data provide evidence for a collaborative role between IL-17 and IL-27 in promoting LPC expansion and differentiation, respectively, thereby contributing to liver regeneration. (Hepatology Communications 2018;2:329-343).