Nerve growth factor upregulates sirtuin 1 expression in cholestasis: a potential therapeutic target

Ming-Shian Tsai, Po-Huang Lee, Cheuk-Kwan Sun, Ting-Chia Chiu, Yu-Chun Lin, I-Wei Chang, Po-Han Chen, Ying-Hsien Kao

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16 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the regulatory role of nerve growth factor (NGF) in sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression in cholestatic livers. We evaluated the expression of NGF and its cognate receptors in human livers with hepatolithiasis and the effects of NGF therapy on liver injury and hepatic SIRT1 expression in a bile duct ligation (BDL) mouse model. Histopathological and molecular analyses showed that the hepatocytes of human diseased livers expressed NGF, proNGF (a precursor of NGF), TrkA and p75NTR, whereas only p75NTR was upregulated in hepatolithiasis, compared with non-hepatolithiasis livers. In the BDL model without NGF therapy, p75NTR, but not TrkA antagonism, significantly deteriorated BDL-induced liver injury. By contrast, the hepatoprotective effect of NGF was abrogated only by TrkA and not by p75NTR antagonism in animals receiving NGF therapy. Intriguingly, a positive correlation between hepatic SIRT1 and NGF expression was found in human livers. In vitro studies demonstrated that NGF upregulated SIRT1 expression in mouse livers and human Huh-7 and rodent hepatocytes. Both NGF and proNGF induced protective effects against hydrogen peroxide-induced cytotoxicity in Huh-7 cells, whereas inhibition of TrkA and p75NTR activity prevented oxidative cell death. Mechanistically, NGF, but not proNGF, upregulated SIRT1 expression in human Huh-7 and rodent hepatocytes via nuclear factor (NF)-κB activity, whereas NGF-induced phosphoinositide-3 kinase/Akt, extracellular signal-regulated kinase and NF-κB signaling and SIRT1 activity were involved in its hepatoprotective effects against oxidative injury. These findings suggest that pharmacological manipulation of the NGF/SIRT1 axis might serve as a novel approach for the treatment of cholestatic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e426
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 12 2018
Externally publishedYes


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