Targeting YAP-mediated HSC death susceptibility and senescence for treatment of liver fibrosis.

Conference Paper

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Liver fibrosis results from the accumulation of myofibroblasts (MFs) derived from quiescent HSCs, and yes-associated protein (YAP) controls this state transition. Although fibrosis is also influenced by HSC death and senescence, whether YAP regulates these processes and whether this could be leveraged to treat liver fibrosis are unknown. APPROACH AND RESULTS: YAP activity was manipulated in MF-HSCs to determine how YAP impacts susceptibility to pro-apoptotic senolytic agents or ferroptosis. Effects of senescence on YAP activity and susceptibility to apoptosis versus ferroptosis were also examined. CCl 4 -treated mice were treated with a ferroptosis inducer or pro-apoptotic senolytic to determine the effects on liver fibrosis. YAP was conditionally disrupted in MFs to determine how YAP activity in MF-HSC affects liver fibrosis in mouse models. Silencing YAP in cultured MF-HSCs induced HSC senescence and vulnerability to senolytics, and promoted ferroptosis resistance. Conversely, inducing HSC senescence suppressed YAP activity, increased sensitivity to senolytics, and decreased sensitivity to ferroptosis. Single-cell analysis of HSCs from fibrotic livers revealed heterogeneous sensitivity to ferroptosis, apoptosis, and senescence. In mice with chronic liver injury, neither the ferroptosis inducer nor senolytic improved fibrosis. However, selectively depleting YAP in MF-HSCs induced senescence and decreased liver injury and fibrosis. CONCLUSION: YAP determines whether MF-HSCs remain activated or become senescent. By regulating this state transition, Yap controls both HSC fibrogenic activity and susceptibility to distinct mechanisms for cell death. MF-HSC-specific YAP depletion induces senescence and protects injured livers from fibrosis. Clarifying determinants of HSC YAP activity may facilitate the development of novel anti-fibrotic therapies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Du, K; Maeso-Díaz, R; Oh, SH; Wang, E; Chen, T; Pan, C; Xiang, K; Dutta, RK; Wang, X-F; Chi, J-T; Diehl, AM

Published Date

  • June 1, 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1998 - 2015

PubMed ID

  • 36815382

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-3350

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/HEP.0000000000000326

Conference Location

  • United States