Angiotensin II type-2 receptor signaling facilitates liver injury repair and regeneration via inactivation of Hippo pathway

Chang-yong Xu, Ji Jiang, Yue An, Peng-fei Ye, Cun-cun Zhang, Ning-ning Sun, Sai-nan Miao, Meng-qi Chai, Wen-min Liu, Mei Yang, Wei-hua Zhu, Jing-jing Yu, Man-man Yu, Wu-yi Sun, Huan Qiu, Shi-hao Zhang, Wei Wei

Correspondence to: Huan Qiu:, Shi-hao Zhang:, Wei Wei:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-024-01249-0
Received: 17 September 2023
Accepted: 21 February 2024
Advance online: 15 March 2024


The angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) is a well-established component of the renin-angiotensin system and is known to counteract classical activation of this system and protect against organ damage. Pharmacological activation of the AT2R has significant therapeutic benefits, including vasodilation, natriuresis, anti-inflammatory activity, and improved insulin sensitivity. However, the precise biological functions of the AT2R in maintaining homeostasis in liver tissue remain largely unexplored. In this study, we found that the AT2R facilitates liver repair and regeneration following acute injury by deactivating Hippo signaling and that interleukin-6 transcriptionally upregulates expression of the AT2R in hepatocytes through STAT3 acting as a transcription activator binding to promoter regions of the AT2R. Subsequently, elevated AT2R levels activate downstream signaling via heterotrimeric G protein Gα12/13-coupled signals to induce Yap activity, thereby contributing to repair and regeneration processes in the liver. Conversely, a deficiency in the AT2R attenuates regeneration of the liver while increasing susceptibility to acetaminophen-induced liver injury. Administration of an AT2R agonist significantly enhances the repair and regeneration capacity of injured liver tissue. Our findings suggest that the AT2R acts as an upstream regulator in the Hippo pathway and is a potential target in the treatment of liver damage.

Keywords: angiotensin II type 2 receptor; liver injury; liver regeneration; Hippo pathway; Yap

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