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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Insufficient liver regeneration causes post-hepatectomy liver failure and small-for-size syndrome. Identifying therapeutic targets to enhance hepatic regenerative capacity remains urgent. Recently, increased IL-33 was observed in patients undergoing liver resection and in mice after partial hepatectomy (PHx). The present study aims to investigate the role of IL-33 in liver regeneration after PHx and to elucidate its underlying mechanisms.

APPROACH AND RESULTS: We performed PHx in IL-33 -/- , suppression of tumorigenicity 2 (ST2) -/- , and wild-type control mice, and found deficiency of IL-33 or its receptor ST2 delayed liver regeneration. The insufficient liver regeneration could be normalized in IL-33 -/- but not ST2 -/- mice by recombinant murine IL-33 administration. Furthermore, we observed an increased level of serotonin in portal blood from wild-type mice, but not IL-33 -/- or ST2 -/- mice, after PHx. ST2 deficiency specifically in enterochromaffin cells recapitulated the phenotype of delayed liver regeneration observed in ST2 -/- mice. Moreover, the impeded liver regeneration in IL-33 -/- and ST2 -/- mice was restored to normal levels by the treatment with (±)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine, which is an agonist of the 5-hydroxytrytamine receptor (HTR)2A. Notably, in vitro experiments demonstrated that serotonin/HTR2A-induced hepatocyte proliferation is dependent on p70S6K activation.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study identified that IL-33 is pro-regenerative in a noninjurious model of liver resection. The underlying mechanism involved IL-33/ST2-induced increase of serotonin release from enterochromaffin cells to portal blood and subsequent HTR2A/p70S6K activation in hepatocytes by serotonin. The findings implicate the potential of targeting the IL-33/ST2/serotonin pathway to reduce the risk of post-hepatectomy liver failure and small-for-size syndrome.


Animals, Mice, Cell Proliferation, Hepatectomy, Hepatocytes, Interleukin-33, Liver, Liver Failure, Liver Regeneration, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa, Serotonin, Gastrointestinal Tract



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