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Activation of the PI3K/mTOR pathway is involved in cystic proliferation of cholangiocytes of the PCK rat.

Authors: Ren, XS  Sato, Y  Harada, K  Sasaki, M  Furubo, S  Song, JY  Nakanuma, Y 
Citation: Ren XS, etal., PLoS One. 2014 Jan 30;9(1):e87660. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087660. eCollection 2014.
Pubmed: (View Article at PubMed) PMID:24498161
DOI: Full-text: DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0087660

The polycystic kidney (PCK) rat is an animal model of Caroli's disease as well as autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). The signaling pathways involving the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) are aberrantly activated in ARPKD. This study investigated the effects of inhibitors for the cell signaling pathways including mTOR on cholangiocyte proliferation of the PCK rat. Cultured PCK cholangiocytes were treated with rapamycin and everolimus [inhibitors of mTOR complex 1 (mTOC1)], LY294002 [an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)] and NVP-BEZ235 (an inhibitor of PI3K and mTORC1/2), and the cell proliferative activity was determined in relation to autophagy and apoptosis. The expression of phosphorylated (p)-mTOR, p-Akt, and PI3K was increased in PCK cholangiocytes compared to normal cholangiocytes. All inhibitors significantly inhibited the cell proliferative activity of PCK cholangiocytes, where NVP-BEZ235 had the most prominent effect. NVP-BEZ235, but not rapamycin and everolimus, further inhibited biliary cyst formation in the three-dimensional cell culture system. Rapamycin and everolimus induced apoptosis in PCK cholangiocytes, whereas NVP-BEZ235 inhibited cholangiocyte apoptosis. Notably, the autophagic response was significantly induced following the treatment with NVP-BEZ235, but not rapamycin and everolimus. Inhibition of autophagy using siRNA against protein-light chain3 and 3-methyladenine significantly increased the cell proliferative activity of PCK cholangiocytes treated with NVP-BEZ235. In vivo, treatment of the PCK rat with NVP-BEZ235 attenuated cystic dilatation of the intrahepatic bile ducts, whereas renal cyst development was unaffected. These results suggest that the aberrant activation of the PI3K/mTOR pathway is involved in cystic proliferation of cholangiocytes of the PCK rat, and inhibition of the pathway can reduce cholangiocyte proliferation via the mechanism involving apoptosis and/or autophagy.

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CRRD Object Information
CRRD ID: 10040950
Created: 2015-05-06
Species: All species
Last Modified: 2015-05-06
Status: ACTIVE



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RGD is funded by grant HL64541 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the NIH.