Induction of hepatitis by JNK-mediated expression of TNF-alpha

Madhumita Das, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Guadalupe Sabio, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Feng Jiang, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Mercedes Rincon, University of Vermont
Richard A. Flavell, Yale University
Roger J. Davis, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Document Type Article

Abstract

The c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway has been implicated in the development of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-dependent hepatitis. JNK may play a critical role in hepatocytes during TNF-stimulated cell death in vivo. To test this hypothesis, we examined the phenotype of mice with compound disruption of the Jnk1 and Jnk2 genes. Mice with loss of JNK1/2 expression in hepatocytes exhibited no defects in the development of hepatitis compared with control mice, whereas mice with loss of JNK1/2 in the hematopoietic compartment exhibited a profound defect in hepatitis that was associated with markedly reduced expression of TNF-alpha. These data indicate that JNK is required for TNF-alpha expression but not for TNF-alpha-stimulated death of hepatocytes. Indeed, TNF-alpha induced similar hepatic damage in both mice with hepatocyte-specific JNK1/2 deficiency and control mice. These observations confirm a role for JNK in the development of hepatitis but identify hematopoietic cells as the site of the essential function of JNK.