The let-7/Lin28 axis regulates activation of hepatic stellate cells in alcoholic liver injury. Academic Article uri icon


  • The let-7/Lin28 axis is associated with the regulation of key cellular regulatory genes known as microRNAs in various human disorders and cancer development. This study evaluated the role of the let-7/Lin28 axis in regulating a mesenchymal phenotype of hepatic stellate cells in alcoholic liver injury. We identified that ethanol feeding significantly down-regulated several members of the let-7 family in mouse liver, including let-7a and let-7b. Similarly, the treatment of human hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and transforming growth factor- (TGF-) significantly decreased the expressions of let-7a and let-7b. Conversely, overexpression of let-7a and let-7b suppressed the myofibroblastic activation of cultured human HSCs induced by LPS and TGF-, as evidenced by repressed ACTA2 (-actin 2), COL1A1 (collagen 1A1), TIMP1 (TIMP metallopeptidase inhibitor 1), and FN1 (fibronectin 1); this supports the notion that HSC activation is controlled by let-7. A combination of bioinformatics, dual-luciferase reporter assay, and Western blot analysis revealed that Lin28B and high-mobility group AT-hook (HMGA2) were the direct targets of let-7a and let-7b. Furthermore, Lin28B deficiency increased the expression of let-7a/let-7b as well as reduced HSC activation and liver fibrosis in mice with alcoholic liver injury. This feedback regulation of let-7 by Lin28B is verified in hepatic stellate cells isolated by laser capture microdissection from the model. The identification of the let-7/Lin28 axis as an important regulator of HSC activation as well as its upstream modulators and down-stream targets will provide insights into the involvement of altered microRNA expression in contributing to the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver fibrosis and novel therapeutic approaches for human alcoholic liver diseases.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

altmetric score

  • 4.5

author list (cited authors)

  • McDaniel, K., Huang, L. i., Sato, K., Wu, N., Annable, T., Zhou, T., ... Meng, F.

citation count

  • 44

complete list of authors

  • McDaniel, Kelly||Huang, Li||Sato, Keisaku||Wu, Nan||Annable, Tami||Zhou, Tianhao||Ramos-Lorenzo, Sugeily||Wan, Ying||Huang, Qiaobing||Francis, Heather||Glaser, Shannon||Tsukamoto, Hidekazu||Alpini, Gianfranco||Meng, Fanyin

publication date

  • January 2017