BACKGROUND & AIMS: Liver inflammation is key in the progression of chronic viral hepatitis to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The magnitude of viral replication and the specific anti-viral immune responses should govern the degree of inflammation, but a direct correlation is not consistently found in chronic viral hepatitis patients. We aim to better define the mechanisms that contribute to chronic liver inflammation.
METHODS: Intrahepatic CD14+ myeloid cells from healthy donors (n=19) and patients with viral-related liver cirrhosis (HBV, HBV/HDV or HCV; n=15) were subjected to detailed phenotypic, molecular and functional characterisation.
RESULTS: Unsupervised analysis of multi-parametric data showed that liver disease was associated with the intrahepatic expansion of activated myeloid cells mainly composed of pro-inflammatory CD14+HLA-DRhiCD206+ cells, which spontaneously produced TNFα and GM-CSF. These cells only showed heightened pro-inflammatory responses to bacterial TLR agonists and were more refractory to endotoxin-induced tolerance. A liver-specific enrichment of CD14+HLA-DRhiCD206+ cells was also detected in a humanised mouse model of liver inflammation. This accumulation was abrogated following oral antibiotic treatment, suggesting a direct involvement of translocated gut-derived microbial products in liver injury.
CONCLUSIONS: Viral-related chronic liver inflammation is driven by the interplay between non-endotoxin-tolerant pro-inflammatory CD14+HLA-DRhiCD206+ myeloid cells and translocated bacterial products. Deciphering this mechanism paves the way for the development of therapeutic strategies specifically targeting CD206+ myeloid cells in viral-related liver disease patients. Lay summary: Viral-related chronic liver disease is driven by intrahepatic pro-inflammatory myeloid cells accumulating in a gut-derived bacterial product-dependent manner. Our findings support the use of oral antibiotics to ameliorate liver inflammation in these patients.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2017 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
- Gastrointestinal Microbiome
- HLA-DR Antigens/analysis
- Hepatitis, Viral, Human/drug therapy
- Lectins, C-Type/physiology
- Lipopolysaccharide Receptors/analysis
- Mannose-Binding Lectins/physiology
- Myeloid Cells/physiology
- Receptors, Cell Surface/physiology
- Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/biosynthesis