Matsumoto G, Tsunematsu S, Tsukinoki K, Ohmi Y, Iwamiya M, Oliveira-dos-Santos A, Tone D, Shindo J, Penninger JM.
Viral hepatitis affects more than 2 billion people worldwide. In particular, no effective treatment exists to abrogate death and liver damage in fulminant hepatitis. Activation of T cells is an initial and critical event in the pathogenesis of liver damage in autoimmune and viral hepatitis. The precise molecular mechanisms that induce T cell-mediated hepatocyte injury remain largely unclear. In mice, T cell-dependent hepatitis and acute liver damage can be modeled using ConA. In this study, we examined the role of the adhesion receptor LFA-1 in ConA-induced acute hepatic damage using LFA-1(-/-) (CD11a) mice. Massive liver cell apoptosis and metabolic liver damage were observed in LFA-1(+/+) mice following ConA injection. By contrast, LFA-1(-/-) mice were completely resistant to ConA-induced hepatitis and none of the LFA-1(-/-) mice showed any hepatic damage. Whereas activated hepatic T cells remained in the liver in LFA-1(+/+) mice, activated T cells were rapidly cleared from the livers of LFA-1(-/-) mice. Mechanistically, T cells from LFA-1(-/-) mice showed markedly reduced cytotoxicity toward liver cells as a result of impaired, activation-dependent adhesion. Importantly, adoptive transfer of hepatic T cells from LFA-1(+/+) mice, but not from LFA-1(-/-) mice, sensitized LFA-1(-/-) mice to ConA-induced hepatitis. Thus, LFA-1 expression on T cells is necessary and sufficient for T cell-mediated liver damage in vivo. These results provide the first genetic evidence on an adhesion receptor, LFA-1, that has a crucial role in fulminant hepatitis. These genetic data identify LFA-1 as a potential key target for the treatment of T cell-mediated hepatitis and the prevention of liver damage.