LOXL2 Inhibition Paves the Way for Macrophage-Mediated Collagen Degradation in Liver Fibrosis

Mordehay Klepfish, Tamar Gross, Milena Vugman, Nikolaos A. Afratis, Sapir Havusha-Laufer, Eli Brazowski, Inna Solomonov, Chen Varol, Irit Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liver fibrosis is characterized by the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and enzymes, especially fibrillary collagens, and represents a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Lysyl oxidases (LOXs) drive covalent crosslinking of collagen fibers, thereby promoting stabilization and accumulation of liver fibrosis while limiting its resolution. Here we show in a carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver fibrosis murine model that treatment with a novel anti-lysyl oxidase like 2 (LOXL2) neutralizing antibody, which targets extracellular LOXL2, significantly improves fibrosis resolution. LOXL2 inhibition following the onset of fibrosis accelerated and augmented collagen degradation. This was accompanied by increased localization of reparative monocyte-derived macrophages (MoMFs) in the proximity of fibrotic fibers and their representation in the liver. These cells secreted collagenolytic matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and, in particular, the membrane-bound MT1-MMP (MMP-14) collagenase. Inducible and selective ablation of infiltrating MoMFs negated the increased “on-fiber” accumulation of MMP-14-expressing MoMFs and the accelerated collagenolytic activity observed in the anti-LOXL2-treated mice. Many studies of liver fibrosis focus on preventing the progression of the fibrotic process. In contrast, the therapeutic mechanism of LOXL2 inhibition presented herein aims at reversing existing fibrosis and facilitating endogenous liver regeneration by paving the way for collagenolytic macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number480
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2020


  • liver fibrosis
  • liver macrophages
  • lysyl oxidase like 2 (LOXL2)
  • matrix metalloproteinase-14 (MMP-14)
  • matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)
  • monocyte-derived macrophages


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