Whole genome expression profiling and screening for differentially expressed cytokine genes in human bone marrow endothelial cells treated with humoral inhibitors in liver cirrhosis.
Bone marrow endothelial cells (BMECs) are important components of the hematopoietic microenvironment in bone marrow, and they can secrete several types of cytokines to regulate the functions of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. To date, it is unknown whether BMECs undergo functional changes and lead to hematopoietic abnormalities in cases of liver cirrhosis (LC). In the present study, whole genome microarray analysis was carried out to detect differentially expressed genes in human BMECs treated for 48 h with medium supplemented with 20% pooled sera from 26 patients with LC or 10 healthy volunteers as the control group. A total of 1,106 upregulated genes and 766 downregulated genes were identified. In Gene Ontology analysis, the most significant categories of genes were revealed. A large number of the upregulated genes were involved in processes, such as cell-cell adhesion, apoptosis and cellular response to stimuli and the downregulated genes were involved in the negative regulation of secretion, angiogenesis, blood vessel development and cell growth. Pathway analysis revealed that the upregulated genes were either cell adhesion molecules or parts of the apoptotic signaling pathway and the downregulated genes were involved in the Wnt signaling pathway and MAPK signaling pathway. These were the pathways with the highest enrichment scores. The results of apoptosis assays revealed that the humoral inhibitors in the sera of patients with LC induced the apoptosis of BMECs, which confirmed the accuracy of bioinformatic analysis. Moreover, we screened and verified 21 differentially expressed cytokine genes [transforming growth factor (TGF)B1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)B, TNF receptor superfamily, member 11b (TNFRSF11B), TNF (ligand) superfamily, member 13b (TNFSF13B), interleukin (IL)1A, IL6, IL11, IL17C, IL24, family with sequence similarity 3, member B (FAM3B), Fas ligand (FASLG), matrix metallopeptidase (MMP)3, MMP15, vitronectin (VTN), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), fibroblast growth factor 22 (FGF22), slit homolog 2 (Drosophila) (SLIT2), thrombospondin (THBS)2, THBS3, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 28 (CCL28) and macrophage stimulating 1 (MST1)] from 97 cytokine genes in BMECs treated with serum from patients with LC. The results from our study demonstrate that the humoral inhibitors in the sera of patients with LC induce the dysfunction and abnormal cytokine secretion by BMECs, which may be a novel mechanism responsible for hematological abnormalities in patients with LC.