Dr. Paul Monga published a manuscript in eLife, entitled, “β-Catenin-NFkB-CFTR interactions in cholangiocytes regulate inflammation and fibrosis during ductular reaction.” The following PLRC members contributed to the findings: Dr. Sungjin Ko, Dr. Kari Nejak-Bowen, Dr. Aatur Singhi, Dr. Reben Raeman, Dr. Donghun Shin, Dr. Aaron Bell, Dr. Edward Hurley, and Dr. Silvia Liu.
Expansion of biliary epithelial cells (BECs) during ductular reaction (DR) is observed in liver diseases including cystic fibrosis (CF), and associated with inflammation and fibrosis, albeit without complete understanding of underlying mechanism. Using two different genetic mouse knockouts of b-catenin, one with b-catenin loss is hepatocytes and BECs (KO1), and another with loss in only hepatocytes (KO2), we demonstrate disparate long-term repair after an initial injury by 2-week choline-deficient ethionine-supplemented diet. KO2 show gradual liver repopulation with BEC-derived b-catenin-positive hepatocytes, and resolution of injury. KO1 showed persistent loss of b-catenin, NF-kB activation in BECs, progressive DR and fibrosis, reminiscent of CF histology. We identify interactions of b-catenin, NFkB and CF transmembranous conductance regulator (CFTR) in BECs. Loss of CFTR or b-catenin led to NF-kB activation, DR and inflammation. Thus, we report a novel b-catenin-NFkB-CFTR interactome in BECs, and its disruption may contribute to hepatic pathology of CF.