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T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain 4 (TIM-4) signaling in innate immune-mediated liver ischemia-reperfusion injury.

  • Author(s): Ji, Haofeng
  • Liu, Yuanxing
  • Zhang, Yu
  • Shen, Xiu-da
  • Gao, Feng
  • Busuttil, Ronald W
  • Kuchroo, Vijay K
  • Kupiec-Weglinski, Jerzy W
  • et al.

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Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), an innate immunity-driven inflammation response, occurs in multiple clinical settings including liver resection, transplantation, trauma, and shock. T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin (TIM)-4, the only TIM protein not expressed on T cells, is found on macrophages and dendritic cells. The regulatory function of macrophage TIM-4 in the engulfment of apoptotic/necrotic bodies in innate immunity-mediated disease states remains unknown. This study focuses on the putative role of TIM-4 signaling in a model of liver warm ischemia (90 minutes) and reperfusion. The ischemia insult triggered TIM-4 expression by stressed hepatocellular phosphatidylserine (PS) presentation, peaking at 6 hours of reperfusion, and coinciding with the maximal hepatocellular damage. TIM-4-deficient or wild-type WT mice treated with antagonistic TIM-4 monoclonal antibody (mAb) were resistant against liver IRI, evidenced by diminished serum alanine aminotransferase (sALT) levels and well-preserved hepatic architecture. Liver hepatoprotection rendered by TIM-4 deficiency was accompanied by diminished macrophage infiltration/chemoattraction, phagocytosis, and activation of Toll-like receptor (TLR)2/4/9-dependent signaling. Correlating with in vivo kinetics, the peak of TIM-4 induction in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated bone marrow derived-macrophages (BMM) was detected in 6-hour cultures. To mimic liver IRI, we employed hydrogen peroxide-necrotic hepatocytes, which readily present PS. Indeed, necrotic hepatocytes were efficiently captured/engulfed by WT (TIM-4+) but not by TIM-4-deficient BMM. Finally, in a newly established model of liver IRI, adoptive transfer of WT but not TIM-4-deficient BMM readily recreated local inflammation response/hepatocellular damage in the CD11b-DTR mouse system.


These findings document the importance of macrophage-specific TIM-4 activation in the mechanism of hepatic IRI. Macrophage TIM-4 may represent a therapeutic target to minimize innate inflammatory responses in IR-stressed organs.

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