Development of portal hypertension (PHT) is a central prognostic factor in patients with cirrhosis. Circulating microparticles (MPs) are released by hepatocytes in a caspase-dependent manner, are increased in circulation of patients with cirrhosis, and contribute to PHT via induction of impaired vasoconstrictor responses. Here, we tested the hypothesis that emricasan, a pan- caspase inhibitor, ameliorates PHT and reduction in release of MPs. We used a short-term and long-term protocol following common bile-duct ligation (BDL) in C57BL/6 mice (10 and 20 days, respectively). Mice were treated daily via intraperitoneal injection with 10 mg/kg/day of emricasan or placebo. Circulating MP levels were analyzed using flow cytometry and function via ex vivo angiogenesis assays. In contrast to BDL-placebo group, nearly all BDL-emricasan-treated mice survived after long-term BDL. Assessment of portal pressure showed a significant increase in BDL-placebo mice compared to sham-placebo mice. In contrast, BDL-emricasan mice had significantly lower levels of portal pressure compared to BDL-placebo mice. Although emricasan treatment resulted in a decrease in fibrosis, the changes did not reach statistical significance, suggesting that the effects on PHTare at least in part independent of the anti-fibrotic effects of the drug. Following short-term BDL, hepatocellular cell death as well as liver fibrosis
Journal of Molecular Medicine – Springer Journals
Published: May 5, 2018
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