Temporal correlation of pathology and DNA damage with gene expression in a choline-deficient model of rat liver injury.
Additional Document Info
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the terminal event in chronic liver diseases with repeated cycles of cellular injury and regeneration. Although much is known about the cellular pathogenesis and etiological agents leading to HCC, the molecular events are not well understood. The choline-deficient (CD) model of rodent HCC involves the consecutive emergence of a fatty liver, apoptosis, compensatory proliferation, fibrosis, and cirrhosis that is markedly similar to the sequence of events typified by human HCC. Moreover, oxidative stress is thought to play a pivotal role in the progression of the disease. Here, we hypothesize that gene expression profiling can temporally mirror the histopathology and oxidative DNA damage observed with this model. We show that clusters of highly co-regulated genes representing distinct cellular pathways for lipid biosynthesis and metabolism, apoptosis, cell proliferation, and tissue remodeling temporally correlate with the well-defined sequential emergence of pathological alterations in the progression of liver disease. Additionally, an oxidative stress signature was observed that was corroborated in a time-dependent manner with increases in oxidized purines and abasic sites in DNA. Collectively, expression patterns were strongly driven by pathology, demonstrating that patterns of gene expression in advanced stages of liver disease are primarily driven by histopathological changes and to a much lesser degree by the original etiological agent. In conclusion, gene expression profiling coupled with the CD model of HCC provides a unique opportunity to unveil the molecular events associated with various stages of liver injury and carcinogenesis and to distinguish between causal and consecutive changes.