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Species: human
Number of cells: 92645
Study size: 2GB


Resolving the fibrotic niche of human liver cirrhosis at single-cell level (human)

P. Ramachandran, R. Dobie, J. R. Wilson-Kanamori, E. F. Dora, B. E. P. Henderson, N. T. Luu, J. R. Portman, K. P. Matchett, M. Brice, J. A. Marwick, R. S. Taylor, M. Efremova, R. Vento-Tormo, N. O. Carragher, T. J. Kendall, J. A. Fallowfield, E. M. Harrison, D. J. Mole, S. J. Wigmore, P. N. Newsome, C. J. Weston, J. P. Iredale, F. Tacke, J. W. Pollard, C. P. Ponting, J. C. Marioni, S. A. Teichmann, N. C. Henderson

Currently there are no effective antifibrotic therapies for liver cirrhosis, a major killer worldwide. To obtain a cellular resolution of directly relevant pathogenesis and to inform therapeutic design, we profile the transcriptomes of over 100,000 human single cells, yielding molecular definitions for non-parenchymal cell types present in healthy and cirrhotic human liver. We uncover a novel scar-associated TREM2+CD9+ macrophage subpopulation, which expands in liver fibrosis, differentiates from circulating monocytes and is pro-fibrogenic. We also define novel ACKR1+ and PLVAP+ endothelial cells that expand in cirrhosis, are topographically scar-restricted and enhance leucocyte transmigration. Multi-lineage ligand-receptor modelling of interactions between the novel scar-associated macrophages, endothelial cells and PDGFRα+ collagen-producing mesenchymal cells reveals intra-scar activity of several pro-fibrogenic pathways including TNFRSF12A, PDGFR and NOTCH signalling. Our work dissects unanticipated aspects of the cellular and molecular basis of human organ fibrosis at a single-cell level, and provides the conceptual framework required to discover rational therapeutic targets in liver cirrhosis.

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