MerTK expressing hepatic macrophages promote the resolution of inflammation in acute liver failure

Triantafyllou, E., Pop, O.T., Possamai, L.A., Wilhelm, A., Liaskou, E., Singanayagam, A., Bernsmeier, C., Khamri, W., Petts, G., Dargue, R., Davies, S.P., Tickle, J., Yuksel, M., Patel, V.C., Abeles, R.D., Stamataki, Z., Curbishley, S.M., Ma, Y., Wilson, I.D., Coen, M., Woollard, K.J., Quaglia, A., Wendon, J., Thursz, M.R., Adams, D.H., Weston, C.J. and Antoniades, C.G. 2018. MerTK expressing hepatic macrophages promote the resolution of inflammation in acute liver failure. Gut. 67, pp. 333-347. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313615

TitleMerTK expressing hepatic macrophages promote the resolution of inflammation in acute liver failure
TypeJournal article
AuthorsTriantafyllou, E., Pop, O.T., Possamai, L.A., Wilhelm, A., Liaskou, E., Singanayagam, A., Bernsmeier, C., Khamri, W., Petts, G., Dargue, R., Davies, S.P., Tickle, J., Yuksel, M., Patel, V.C., Abeles, R.D., Stamataki, Z., Curbishley, S.M., Ma, Y., Wilson, I.D., Coen, M., Woollard, K.J., Quaglia, A., Wendon, J., Thursz, M.R., Adams, D.H., Weston, C.J. and Antoniades, C.G.
Abstract

Objective: Acute liver failure (ALF) is characterised by overwhelming hepatocyte death and liver inflammation with massive infiltration of myeloid cells in necrotic areas. The mechanisms underlying resolution of acute hepatic inflammation are largely unknown. Here, we aimed to investigate the impact of Mer tyrosine kinase (MerTK) during ALF and also examine how the microenvironmental mediator, secretory leucocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), governs this response.

Design: Flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, confocal imaging and gene expression analyses determined the phenotype, functional/transcriptomic profile and tissue topography of MerTK+ monocytes/macrophages in ALF, healthy and disease controls. The temporal evolution of macrophage MerTK expression and its impact on resolution was examined in APAP-induced acute liver injury using wild-type (WT) and Mer-deficient (Mer−/−) mice. SLPI effects on hepatic myeloid cells were determined in vitro and in vivo using APAP-treated WT mice.

Results: We demonstrate a significant expansion of resolution-like MerTK+HLA-DRhigh cells in circulatory and tissue compartments of patients with ALF. Compared with WT mice which show an increase of MerTK+MHCIIhigh macrophages during the resolution phase in ALF, APAP-treated Mer−/− mice exhibit persistent liver injury and inflammation, characterised by a decreased proportion of resident Kupffer cells and increased number of neutrophils. Both in vitro and in APAP-treated mice, SLPI reprogrammes myeloid cells towards resolution responses through induction of a MerTK+HLA-DRhigh phenotype which promotes neutrophil apoptosis and their subsequent clearance.

Conclusions: We identify a hepatoprotective, MerTK+, macrophage phenotype that evolves during the resolution phase following ALF and represents a novel immunotherapeutic target to promote resolution responses following acute liver injury.

JournalGut
Journal citation67, pp. 333-347
ISSN1468-3288
Year2018
PublisherBMJ
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313615
Publication dates
Published in print2018
Published online27 Apr 2017

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