Cytoplasmic domain of tissue factor promotes liver fibrosis in mice

Virginia Knight, Dinushka Lourensz, Jorge Tchongue, Jeanne Correia, Peter Tipping, William Sievert

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AIM To evaluate the role of tissue factor (TF) and protease activated receptor (PAR)-2 in liver fibrosis. METHODS Using CCl4 administration for eight weeks, we induced hepatic fibrosis in wild-type C57BL/6 mice and in mice with deletion of the cytoplasmic signalling domain of TF (TF§CT/§CT), deletion of PAR-2 (PAR-2-/-) and combined deletion of TF signalling domain and PAR-2 (TF§CT/§CT/ PAR-2-/-). Hepatic fibrosis area was assessed by quantitative imaging of picrosirius red staining. Hepatic collagen content was assessed by hydroxyproline levels. Hepatic stellate cells (αSMA positive) and hepatic macrophages (CD68 positive) were identified by immunohistochemistry. Hepatic gene expression was determined by PCR and liver TGFβ1 content by ELISA. RESULTS CCl4 treated mice with deletion of the PAR-2 gene (PAR-2-/-) and the cytoplasmic domain of TF (TF§CT/§CT) developed significantly less hepatic fibrosis, characterised by reduced liver fibrosis area and hydroxyproline content, compared to control wildtype mice treated with CCl4. The observed reduction in histological fibrosis was accompanied by a significant decrease in the hepatic content of TGFβ, the prototypic fibrogenic cytokine, as well as fewer activated hepatic stellate cells and hepatic macrophages. Deletion of the TF cytoplasmic signalling domain reduced hepatic fibrosis to levels similar to those observed in mice lacking PAR-2 signalling but combined deletion provided no added protection against fibrosis indicating a lack of mutual modulating effects that have been observed in other contexts such as angiogenic responses. CONCLUSION Tissue factor cytoplasmic domain is involved in TF-PAR-2 signalling initiating hepatic fibrosis and is a potential therapeutic target, as its deletion would not impact coagulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5692-5699
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2017


  • Hepatic stellate cell
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Macrophage
  • Protease activated receptor
  • Tissue factor

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