|CD40 expression in HCV-associated chronic liver diseases|
Authors: Katsuya Shiraki, Kazushi Sugimoto, Hiroshi Okano, Hidetaka Wagayama, Katsuhiko Fujikawa, Takenari Yamanaka, Takeshi Ito, Shigeru Ohmori, Takahisa Sakai, Koujiro Takase, Takeshi Nakano
First Department of Internal Medicine, Mie University School of Medicine, Mie 514-8507, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
CD40 is expressed primarily on B cells and plays an important role in antigen presentation, B cell proliferation, and T cell activation. It has been reported that the CD40 signal modulates apoptosis and has an anti-viral effect in certain cells. Therefore, we investigated the expression and the function of CD40 in HCV-associated chronic liver disease. The expression of CD40 on liver tissues was determined through immunohistochemistry on 50 liver specimens obtained from HCV-positive patients. The effect of CD40 signaling on apoptosis of HepG2 cells was assessed using the MTT assay. The effect of CD40 stimulation on NF-κB activation was determined in NF-κB reporter gene-transfected HepG2 cells with the Luciferase assay. CD40 positive hepatocytes were observed in both periportal and lobular areas, accompanied by inflammation. In both areas, CD40 staining intensity became significantly stronger, correlating with the histological grading. Similarly, it became stronger with the progression of the histological staging in F1, F2 and F3 cases; however, the expression level decreased in F4 cases. CD40 ligation induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells in the presence of 500 ng/ml of actinomycin D, while CD40 ligation alone could not. Anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody caused NF-κB activation in HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that hepatocyte over-expression of CD40 might play an important role in regulating hepatocyte survival and death in HCV-associated chronic liver diseases.