Engineered fibroblast growth factor 19 protects from acetaminophen-induced liver injury and stimulates aged liver regeneration in mice
Gloria Alvarez-Sola 1 , Iker Uriarte 1 , Maria U Latasa 2 , Maddalen Jimenez 2 , Marina Barcena-Varela 2 , Eva Santamaría 1 , Raquel Urtasun 2 , Carlos Rodriguez-Ortigosa 1 2 , Jesús Prieto 1 2 , Fernando J Corrales 2 3 , Anna Baulies 3 4 5 , Carmen García-Ruiz 3 4 5 , Jose C Fernandez-Checa 3 4 5 , Pedro Berraondo 6 , Maite G Fernandez-Barrena 1 2 , Carmen Berasain 1 2 , Matías A Avila 1 2
The liver displays a remarkable regenerative capacity triggered upon tissue injury or resection. However, liver regeneration can be overwhelmed by excessive parenchymal destruction or diminished by pre-existing conditions hampering repair.
Fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19, rodent FGF15) is an enterokine that regulates liver bile acid and lipid metabolism, and stimulates hepatocellular protein synthesis and proliferation. FGF19/15 is also important for liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PH).
Therefore recombinant FGF19 would be an ideal molecule to stimulate liver regeneration, but its applicability may be curtailed by its short half-life. We developed a chimaeric molecule termed Fibapo in which FGF19 is covalently coupled to apolipoprotein A-I.
Fibapo retains FGF19 biological activities but has significantly increased half-life and hepatotropism. Here we evaluated the pro-regenerative activity of Fibapo in two clinically relevant models where liver regeneration may be impaired: acetaminophen (APAP) poisoning, and PH in aged mice.
The only approved therapy for APAP intoxication is N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and no drugs are available to stimulate liver regeneration. We demonstrate that Fibapo reduced liver injury and boosted regeneration in APAP-intoxicated mice. Fibapo improved survival of APAP-poisoned mice when given at later time points, when NAC is ineffective.
Mechanistically, Fibapo accelerated recovery of hepatic glutathione levels, potentiated cell growth-related pathways and increased functional liver mass. When Fibapo was administered to old mice prior to PH, liver regeneration was markedly increased. The exacerbated injury developing in these mice upon PH was attenuated, and the hepatic biosynthetic capacity was enhanced.
Fibapo reversed metabolic and molecular alterations that impede regeneration in aged livers. It reduced liver steatosis and downregulated p21 and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 α (Hnf4α) levels, whereas it stimulated Foxm1b gene expression.
Together our findings indicate that FGF19 variants retaining the metabolic and growth-promoting effects of this enterokine may be valuable for the stimulation of liver regeneration.
CITATION Cell Death Dis. 2017 Oct 5;8(10):e3083.