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Journal of hepatology : the journal of the European Association for the Study of the Liver
<h4>Background & aims</h4>Interleukin (IL)-6 cytokine family members contribute to inflammatory and regenerative processes. Engagement of the signaling receptor subunit gp130 is common to almost all members of the family. In the liver, all major cell types respond to IL-6-type cytokines, making it difficult to delineate cell type-specific effects. We therefore generated mouse models for liver cell type-specific analysis of IL-6 signaling.<h4>Methods</h4>We produced mice with a Cre-inducible expression cassette encoding a designed pre-dimerized constitutive active gp130 variant. We bred these mice to different Cre-drivers to induce transgenic gp130 signaling in distinct liver cell types: hepatic stellate cells, cholangiocytes/liver progenitor cells or hepatocytes. We phenotyped these mice using multi-omics approaches, immunophenotyping and a bacterial infection model.<h4>Results</h4>Hepatocyte-specific gp130 activation led to the upregulation of innate immune system components, including acute-phase proteins. Consequently, we observed peripheral mobilization and recruitment of myeloid cells to the liver. Hepatic myeloid cells, including liver-resident Kupffer cells were instructed to adopt a bactericidal phenotype which ultimately conferred enhanced resistance to bacterial infection in these mice. We demonstrate that persistent hepatocyte-specific gp130 activation resulted in amyloid A amyloidosis in aged mice. In contrast, we did not observe overt effects of hepatic stellate cell- or cholangiocyte/liver progenitor cell-specific transgenic gp130 signaling.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Hepatocyte-specific gp130 activation alone is sufficient to trigger a robust innate immune response in the absence of NF-κB activation. We therefore conclude that gp130 engagement, e.g. by IL-6 trans-signaling, represents a safe-guard mechanism in innate immunity.<h4>Lay summary</h4>Members of the interleukin-6 cytokine family signal via the receptor subunit gp130 and are involved in multiple processes in the liver. However, as several liver cell types respond to interleukin-6 family cytokines, it is difficult to delineate cell type-specific effects. Using a novel mouse model, we provide evidence that hepatocyte-specific gp130 activation is sufficient to trigger a robust systemic innate immune response.