Biological Effects of Transforming Growth Factor Beta in Human Cholangiocytes

TGF-β is a cytokine implicated in multiple cellular responses, including cell cycle regulation, fibrogenesis, angiogenesis and immune modulation. In response to pro-inflammatory and chemotactic cytokines and growth factors, cholangiocytes prime biliary damage, characteristic of cholangiopathies and pathologies that affect biliary tree. The effects and signaling related to TGF-β in cholangiocyte remains poorly investigated. In this study, the cellular response of human cholangiocytes to TGF-β was examined. Wound-healing assay, proliferation assay and cell cycle analyses were used to monitor the changes in cholangiocyte behavior following 24 and 48 h of TGF-β stimulation. Moreover, proteomic approach was used to identify proteins modulated by TGF-β treatment. Our study highlighted a reduction in cholangiocyte proliferation and a cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase following TGF-β treatment. Moreover, proteomic analysis allowed the identification of four downregulated proteins (CaM kinase II subunit delta, caveolin-1, NipSnap1 and calumin) involved in Ca2+ homeostasis. Accordingly, Gene Ontology analysis highlighted that the plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum are the cellular compartments most affected by TGF-β. These results suggested that the effects of TGF-β in human cholangiocytes could be related to an imbalance of intracellular calcium homeostasis. In addition, for the first time, we correlated calumin and NipSnap1 to TGF-β signaling.

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Ceccherini E, Di Giorgi N, Michelucci E, Signore G, Tedeschi L, Vozzi F, Rocchiccioli S, Cecchettini A. Biological Effects of Transforming Growth Factor Beta in Human Cholangiocytes. Biology (Basel). 2022 Apr 8;11(4):566. doi: 10.3390/biology11040566. PMID: 35453765; PMCID: PMC9033039.

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