The Secretin/Secretin Receptor Axis Modulates Ductular Reaction and Liver Fibrosis through Changes in Transforming Growth Factor-1-Mediated Biliary Senescence.
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Activation of the secretin (Sct)/secretin receptor (SR) axis stimulates ductular reaction and liver fibrosis, which are hallmarks of cholangiopathies. Our aim was to define the role of Sct-regulated cellular senescence, and we demonstrated that both ductular reaction and liver fibrosis are significantly reduced in Sct-/-, SR-/-, and Sct-/-/SR-/- bile duct ligated (BDL) mice compared with BDL wild-type mice. The reduction in hepatic fibrosis in Sct-/-, SR-/-, and Sct-/-/SR-/- BDL mice was accompanied by reduced transforming growth factor-1 levels in serum and cholangiocyte supernatant, as well as decreased expression of markers of cellular senescence in cholangiocytes in contrast to enhanced cellular senescence in hepatic stellate cells compared with BDL wild-type mice. Secretin directly stimulated the senescence of cholangiocytes and regulated, by a paracrine mechanism, the senescence of hepatic stellate cells and liver fibrosis via modulation of transforming growth factor-1 biliary secretion. Targeting senescent cholangiocytes may represent a novel therapeutic approach for ameliorating hepatic fibrosis during cholestatic liver injury.