"Involvement of Hepatic Stimulator Substance in the Regulation of Hepatoblast Maturation into Hepatocytes In Vitro"
Sun GY1, Dong LY, An W
Hepatic stimulator substance (HSS), also known as augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR), acts as a hepatotrophic growth factor to promote liver regeneration after liver damage or partial hepatectomy. However, the expression and function of HSS during liver development in mammals remain largely unknown. In this work, the hepatoblasts were isolated from mice at embryonic day 13.5 (E13.5), and HSS expression and its role during hepatoblast maturation were investigated. The results showed that HSS expression was enhanced in the hepatoblasts compared with mouse primary hepatocytes. HSS expression (23 kDa) was significantly decreased if the hepatoblast maturation was induced by a combination of oncostatin M (OSM), dexamethasone (DEX), and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). We also found that knockdown of HSS expression (mainly 23-kDa isoform) by siRNA promoted hepatoblast maturation and also activated the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation levels. However, if STAT3 activity was blocked by a small-molecule inhibitor Stattic, then hepatocyte maturation could be abolished, suggesting that STAT3 was most likely a potential molecule responsible for HSS signaling. In summary, our results demonstrated for the first time that HSS might be an active factor participating in the regulation of liver development and hepatocyte maturation.