Amplified Inhibition of Stellate Cell Activation Pathways by PPAR-γ, RAR and RXR Agonists

Efrat Sharvit, Shirley Abramovitch, Shimon Reif, Rafael Bruck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peroxisome proliferator activator receptors (PPAR) ligands such as 15-Δ12,13-prostaglandin L(2) [PJ] and all trans retinoic acid (ATRA) have been shown to inhibit the development of liver fibrosis. The role of ligands of retinoic X receptor (RXR) and its ligand, 9-cis, is less clear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of combined treatment of the three ligends, PJ, ATRA and 9-cis, on key events during liver fibrosis in rat primary hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). We found that the anti-proliferative effect of the combined treatment of PJ, ATRA and 9-cis on HSCs was additive. Further experiments revealed that this inhibition was due to cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase as demonstrated by FACS analysis. In addition, the combined treatment reduced cyclin D1 expression and increased p21 and p27 protein levels. Furthermore, we found that the three ligands down regulated the phosphorylation of mTOR and p70S6K. The activation of HSCs was also inhibited by the three ligands as shown by inhibition of vitamin A lipid droplets depletion from HSCs. Studies using real time PCR and western blot analysis showed marked inhibition of collagen Iα1 and αSMA by the combination of the three ligands. These findings suggest that the combined use of PJ, ATRA and 9-cis causes inhibition of cell proliferation by cell cycle arrest and down-regulation of fibrotic markers to a greater extent compared to each of the ligands alone.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere76541
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2013


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