COL6A3-derived endotrophin links reciprocal interactions among hepatic cells in the pathology of chronic liver disease

Changhu Lee, Min Kim, Jun Ho Lee, Jiyoung Oh, Hyun Hee Shin, Sang Min Lee, Philipp E Scherer, Hyug Moo Kwon, Jang Hyun Choi, Jiyoung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix dysregulation is associated with chronic liver disease. CollagenVI-alpha3 chain (COL6A3) is a biomarker for hepatic fibrosis and poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but its function in liver pathology remains unknown. High levels of COL6A3 and its cleaved product, endotrophin (ETP) in tumor-neighboring regions are strongly associated with poor prognosis in HCC patients. Here, we report that the high levels of ETP in injured hepatocytes induce JNK-dependent hepatocyte apoptosis and activate nonparenchymal cells to lead further activation of hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and apoptosis. Nevertheless ETP per se showed limited phenotypic changes in normal liver tissues. Furthermore, inhibition of ETP activity by utilizing neutralizing antibodies efficiently suppressed the pathological consequences in chronic liver diseases. Our results implicate ETP mechanistically as a crucial mediator in reciprocal interactions among various hepatic cell populations in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease, and it could be a promising therapeutic target particularly in individuals with high local levels of COL6A3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • JNK pathway
  • apoptosis
  • chronic liver disease
  • collagen VI A3
  • endotrophin
  • fibrosis
  • inflammation
  • pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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