Activation of the renin-angiotensin system stimulates biliary hyperplasia during cholestasis induced by extrahepatic bile duct ligation

Syeda H. Afroze, Md Kamruzzaman Munshi, Allyson K. Martínez, Mohammad Uddin, Maté Gergely, Claudia Szynkarski, Micheleine Guerrier, Damir Nizamutdinov, David Dostal, Shannon Glaser

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20 Scopus citations


Cholangiocyte proliferation is regulated in a coordinated fashion by many neuroendocrine factors through autocrine and paracrine mechanisms. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is known to play a role in the activation of hepatic stellate cells and blocking the RAS attenuates hepatic fibrosis. We investigated the role of the RAS during extrahepatic cholestasis induced by bile duct ligation (BDL). In this study, we used normal and BDL rats that were treated with control, angiotensin II (ANG II), or losartan for 2 wk. In vitro studies were performed in a primary rat cholangiocyte cell line (NRIC). The expression of renin, angiotensin-converting enzyme, angiotensinogen, and angiotensin receptor type 1 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC), realtime PCR, and FACs and found to be increased in BDL compared with normal rat. The levels of ANG II were evaluated by ELISA and found to be increased in serum and conditioned media of cholangiocytes from BDL compared with normal rats. Treatment with ANG II increased biliary mass and proliferation in both normal and BDL rats. Losartan attenuated BDL-induced biliary proliferation. In vitro, ANG II stimulated NRIC proliferation via increased intracellular cAMP levels and activation of the PKA/ERK/CREB intracellular signaling pathway. ANG II stimulated a significant increase in Sirius red staining and IHC for fibronectin that was blocked by angiotensin receptor blockade. In vitro, ANG II stimulated the gene expression of collagen 1A1, fibronectin 1, and IL- 6. These results indicate that cholangiocytes express a local RAS and that ANG II plays an important role in regulating biliary proliferation and fibrosis during extraheptic cholestasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G691-G701
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2015


  • Angiotensin
  • Bile duct ligation
  • Cholangiocyte
  • Renin-angiotensin system


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