Background/Purpose: To overcome liver failure, we focused on liver regeneration mechanisms by the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and Kupffer cells (KCs). It is known that the HSC-secreted Mac-2-binding protein glycan isomer (M2BPGi) activates KC in the fibrotic liver. However, its importance for liver regeneration of the HSCs/M2BPGi/KCs axis after hepatectomy is still unknown. The aim of this study was to clarify whether the HSC-derived M2BPGi can activate KCs after hepatectomy, and elucidate the new molecular mechanism of liver regeneration. Methods: We examined the effect of M2BPGi on human hepatocytes and KCs, and explored secretory factors from M2BPGi-activated KCs using proteomics. Furthermore, the effect on liver regeneration of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) as one of the M2BPGi-related secreted proteins was examined in vitro and in murine hepatectomy models. Results: Although M2BPGi had no hepatocyte-promoting effect, M2BPGi promoted the production of GRP78 in KCs. The KC-driven GRP78 promoted hepatocyte proliferation. GRP78 administration facilitated liver regeneration after 70% hepatectomy and increased the survival rate after 90% hepatectomy in mice. Conclusions: The M2BPGi-activated KCs secrete GRP78, which facilitates liver regeneration and improves the survival in a lethal mice model. Our data suggest that the new hepatotrophic factor GRP78 may be a promising therapeutic tool for lethal liver failure.
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