Disrupted liver regeneration following hepatectomy represents an "undruggable"clinical challenge associated with poor patient outcomes. Yes-associated protein (YAP), a transcriptional coactivator that is repressed by the Hippo pathway, is instrumental in liver regeneration. We have previously described an alternative, Hippo-independent mechanism of YAP activation mediated by downregulation of protein tyrosine phosphatase nonreceptor type 11 (PTPN11, also known as SHP2) inhibition. Herein, we examined the effects of YAP activation with a selective SHP1/SHP2 inhibitor, NSC-87877, on liver regeneration in murine partial hepatectomy models. In our studies, NSC-87877 led to accelerated hepatocyte proliferation, improved liver regeneration, and decreased markers of injury following partial hepatectomy. The effects of NSC-87877 were lost in mice with hepatocyte-specific Yap/Taz deletion, and this demonstrated dependence on these molecules for the enhanced regenerative response. Furthermore, administration of NSC-87877 to murine models of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis was associated with improved survival and decreased markers of injury after hepatectomy. Evaluation of transcriptomic changes in the context of NSC-87877 administration revealed reduction in fibrotic signaling and augmentation of cell cycle signaling. Cytoprotective changes included downregulation of Nr4a1, an apoptosis inducer. Collectively, the data suggest that SHP2 inhibition induces a pro-proliferative and cytoprotective enhancement of liver regeneration dependent on YAP.
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