Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The First Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, 030001, China; Experimental Center of Science and Research, The First Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, 030001, China; Key Laboratory of Cell Physiology, Department of the Ministry of Education, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, 030001, China. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Our previous study found that insulin-like growth factor binding protein-associated protein (IGFBPrP1) drives hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) activation, and IGFBPrP1 and transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) likely interact with each other to promote HSCs activation. TGFβ1 reportedly promotes autophagy and contributes to HSCs activation; however, the mechanism between IGFBPrP1 and autophagy in liver fibrogenesis is yet unknown. Moreover, long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) H19 participates in autophagy regulation and plays a crucial function in liver fibrosis. OBJECTIVE : To define the relationship between IGFBPrP1 and autophagy and the role of H19 in IGFBPrP1-induced hepatic fibrosis. METHODS : IGFBPrP1 and autophagy were detected in bile duct ligation (BDL)-induced hepatic fibrosis. Adenovirus-mediated IGFBPrP1 was transfected into mouse liver and JS-1 cells with or without LY294002 or rapamycin to examine the effects of IGFBPrP1 on HSCs activation and autophagy as well as the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. lncRNA H19 in liver fibrosis tissues and JS-1 cells induced by IGFBPrP1 were detected, then autophagy and HSCs activation level were detected in JS-1 cells by IGFBPrP1 with H19 overexpression or knowdown. RESULTS : IGFBPrP1 expression and autophagy level were concomitantly increased in liver tissue with BDL-induced hepatic fibrosis. Furthermore, we found that IGFBPrP1 stimulated autophagy and HSCs activation in vivo and in vitro, and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway was involved in the regulation of autophagy by IGFBPrP1. In addition, H19 promoted autophagy by interacting with the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in IGFBPrP1-induced HSCs activation. CONCLUSIONS : IGFBPrP1 promoted autophagy and contributed to HSCs activation via mutual regulation between H19 and the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.