Improved Recovery from Liver Fibrosis by Crenolanib
Chronic liver diseases are associated with excessive deposition of extracellular matrix proteins. This so-called fibrosis can progress to cirrhosis and impair vital functions of the liver. We examined whether the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) class III inhibitor Crenolanib affects the behavior of hepatic stellate cells (HSC) involved in fibrogenesis. Rats were treated with thioacetamide (TAA) for 18 weeks to trigger fibrosis. After TAA treatment, the animals received Crenolanib for two weeks,
... hich significantly improved recovery from liver fibrosis. Because Crenolanib predominantly inhibits the RTK platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β, impaired HSC proliferation might be responsible for this beneficial effect. Interestingly, blocking of RTK signaling by Crenolanib not only hindered HSC proliferation but also triggered their specification into hepatic endoderm. Endodermal specification was mediated by p38 mitogen-activated kinase (p38 MAPK) and c-Jun-activated kinase (JNK) signaling; however, this process remained incomplete, and the HSC accumulated lipids. JNK activation was induced by stress response-associated inositol-requiring enzyme-1α (IRE1α) in response to Crenolanib treatment, whereas β-catenin-dependent WNT signaling was able to counteract this process. In conclusion, the Crenolanib-mediated inhibition of RTK impeded HSC proliferation and triggered stress responses, initiating developmental processes in HSC that might have contributed to improved recovery from liver fibrosis in TAA-treated rats.