Chronic liver inflammation (CLI) is a risk factor for development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Galectin-1 (Gal1) is involved in the regulation of inflammation, angiogenesis, and tumorigenesis, exhibiting multiple anti-inflammatory and protumorigenic activities. We aimed to explore its regulatory role in CLI and HCC progression using an established model of CLI-mediated HCC development, Abcb4 [multidrug-resistance 2 (Mdr2)]-knockout (KO) mice, which express high levels of Gal1 in the liver. We generated double-KO (dKO) Gal1-KO/Mdr2-KO mice on C57BL/6 and FVB/N genetic backgrounds and compared HCC development in the generated strains with their parental Mdr2-KO strains. Loss of Gal1 increased liver injury, inflammation, fibrosis, and ductular reaction in dKO mice of both strains starting from an early age. Aged dKO mutants displayed earlier hepatocarcinogenesis and increased tumor size compared with control Mdr2-KO mice. We found that osteopontin, a well-known modulator of HCC development, and oncogenic proteins Ntrk2 (TrkB) and S100A4 were overexpressed in dKO compared with Mdr2-KO livers. Our results demonstrate that in Mdr2-KO mice, a model of CLI-mediated HCC, Gal1-mediated protection from hepatitis, liver fibrosis, and HCC initiation dominates over its known procarcinogenic activities at later stages of HCC development. These findings suggest that anti-Gal1 treatments may not be applicable at all stages of CLI-mediated HCC.—Potikha, T., Pappo, O., Mizrahi, L., Olam, D., Mailer, S. M., Rabinovich, G. A., Galun, E., Goldenberg, D. S. Lack of galectin-1 exacerbates chronic hepatitis, liver fibrosis, and carcinogenesis in murine hepatocellular carcinoma model. FASEB J. 33, 7995–8007 (2019). www.fasebj.org.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank J. P. Cerliani [Argentinean National Research Council (CONICET)] for advice, and Marion Richardson (Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center) for assistance in manuscript preparation. T.P. and D.S.G. were supported by the Kamea Scientific Foundation of the Israeli Government. Work in G.A.R.'s laboratory was supported by grants from Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 2014-3087), Fundación Sales, Fundación Bunge & Born and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. The work of E.G. was supported by U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Grant CA197081-02, the Ministry Of Science and Technology (MOST), the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) collaboration with Canada (2473/2017), the personal ISF (486/2017), the Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence (ICORE)–ISF (41/2011), and by the Kron, Raskin, and Benson foundations. This work was also supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn, Germany (SFB841, Project C3). The authors declare no conflicts of interest.