Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Alagille syndrome


Alagille syndrome (AS) is a multisystemic disease autosomal dominant, with variable expression. The major clinical manifestations are: chronic cholestasis, congenital heart disease, posterior embryotoxon in the eye, characteristic facial phenotype, and butterfy vertebrae. AS is caused by mutations in JAGGED1 (more than 90%) and in NOTCH2. Differential diagnosis include: infections, genetic-metabolic diseases, biliary atresia, idiopathic cholestasis. Cholestasis, pruritus and xanthomas have been successfully treated with choleretic agents (ursodeoxycholic acid) and other medications (cholestyramine, rifampin, naltrexone). In certain cases, partial external biliary diversion has also proved successful. Liver transplantation is indicated in children with cirrhosis and liver failure.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Medical terms, Liver, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Alagille syndrome


JAG1, the gene for the Jagged-1 ligand (Jag1) in the Notch signaling pathway, is variably mutated in Alagille Syndrome (ALGS). ALGS patients have skeletal defects, and additionally JAG1 has been shown to be associated with low bone mass through genome wide association studies. Plating human osteoblast precursors (mesenchymal stem cells – hMSC) on Jag1 is sufficient to induce osteoblast differentiation; however, exposure of mouse MSC (mMSC) to Jag1 actually inhibits osteoblastogenesis. Overexpression of the notch-2 intracellular domain (NICD) is sufficient to mimic the effect of Jag1 on hMSC osteoblastogenesis, while blocking Notch signaling with a gamma-secretase inhibitor or with dominant negative mastermind inhibits Jag1 induced hMSC osteoblastogenesis. In pursuit of interacting signaling pathways, we discovered that treatment with a PKCδ inhibitor abrogates Jag1 induced hMSC osteoblastogenesis. Jag1 results in rapid PKCδ nuclear translocation and kinase activation. Furthermore, Jag1 stimulates the physical interaction of PKCδ with NICD. Collectively, these results suggest that Jag1 induces hMSC osteoblast differentiation through canonical Notch signaling and requires concomitant PKCδ signaling. This research also demonstrates potential deficiencies in using mouse models to study ALGS bone abnormalities.

Concepts: Bone, Stem cell, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Skeletal system, Interaction, Intramembranous ossification, Alagille syndrome


JAGGED1 mutations cause Alagille syndrome, comprising a constellation of clinical findings, including biliary, cardiac and craniofacial anomalies. Jagged1, a ligand in the Notch signaling pathway, has been extensively studied during biliary and cardiac development. However, the role of JAGGED1 during craniofacial development is poorly understood. Patients with Alagille syndrome have midface hypoplasia giving them a characteristic ‘inverted V’ facial appearance. This study design determines the requirement of Jagged1 in the cranial neural crest (CNC) cells, which encompass the majority of mesenchyme present during craniofacial development. Furthermore, with this approach, we identify the autonomous and non-autonomous requirement of Jagged1 in a cell lineage-specific approach during midface development. Deleting Jagged1 in the CNC using Wnt1-cre; Jag1 Flox/Flox recapitulated the midfacial hypoplasia phenotype of Alagille syndrome. The Wnt1-cre; Jag1 Flox/Flox mice die at postnatal day 30 due to inability to masticate owing to jaw misalignment and poor occlusion. The etiology of midfacial hypoplasia in the Wnt1-cre; Jag1 Flox/Flox mice was a consequence of reduced cellular proliferation in the midface, aberrant vasculogenesis with decreased productive vessel branching and reduced extracellular matrix by hyaluronic acid staining, all of which are associated with midface anomalies and aberrant craniofacial growth. Deletion of Notch1 from the CNC using Wnt1-cre; Notch1 F/F mice did not recapitulate the midface hypoplasia of Alagille syndrome. These data demonstrate the requirement of Jagged1, but not Notch1, within the midfacial CNC population during development. Future studies will investigate the mechanism in which Jagged1 acts in a cell autonomous and cell non-autonomous manner.

Concepts: Gene, Liver, Syndromes, Alagille syndrome, JAG1, NOTCH2, Recap, Recapitulation


Alagille syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by cholestasis, ocular abnormalities, characteristic facial features, heart defects, and vertebral malformations. Most cases are associated with mutations in JAGGED1 (JAG1), which encodes a Notch ligand, although it is not clear how these contribute to disease development. We aimed to develop a mouse model of Alagille syndrome to elucidate these mechanisms.

Concepts: Genetic disorder, Mutation, Point mutation, Missense mutation, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Alagille syndrome, JAG1, NOTCH2


Despite the enormous replication potential of the human liver, there are currently no culture systems available that sustain hepatocyte replication and/or function in vitro. We have shown previously that single mouse Lgr5+ liver stem cells can be expanded as epithelial organoids in vitro and can be differentiated into functional hepatocytes in vitro and in vivo. We now describe conditions allowing long-term expansion of adult bile duct-derived bipotent progenitor cells from human liver. The expanded cells are highly stable at the chromosome and structural level, while single base changes occur at very low rates. The cells can readily be converted into functional hepatocytes in vitro and upon transplantation in vivo. Organoids from α1-antitrypsin deficiency and Alagille syndrome patients mirror the in vivo pathology. Clonal long-term expansion of primary adult liver stem cells opens up experimental avenues for disease modeling, toxicology studies, regenerative medicine, and gene therapy.

Concepts: Gene, Liver, Glycogen, Bile, Gallbladder, Hepatocyte, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Alagille syndrome


We developed an in vitro model system where induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) differentiate into 3-dimensional human hepatic organoids (HOs) through stages that resemble human liver during its embryonic development. The HOs consist of hepatocytes, and cholangiocytes, which are organized into epithelia that surround the lumina of bile duct-like structures. The organoids provide a potentially new model for liver regenerative processes, and were used to characterize the effect of different JAG1 mutations that cause: (a) Alagille syndrome (ALGS), a genetic disorder where NOTCH signaling pathway mutations impair bile duct formation, which has substantial variability in its associated clinical features; and (b) Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which is the most common form of a complex congenital heart disease, and is associated with several different heritable disorders. Our results demonstrate how an iPSC-based organoid system can be used with genome editing technologies to characterize the pathogenetic effect of human genetic disease-causing mutations.

Concepts: Genetics, Cancer, Genetic disorder, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Liver, Bile, Alagille syndrome


Alagille syndrome (ALGS) is an inherited multisystem disorder typically manifesting as cholestasis, and potentially leading to end-stage liver disease and death.

Concepts: Disease, Liver, Liver function tests, Hepatology, Nature, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Natural history, Alagille syndrome


The polymalformative syndromes and craniofacial anomalies association is a well-known phenomenon in patients with Crouzon’s, Pfeiffer, Apert or Muenke disease. Recently, other less frequent pathologies, such as Alagille syndrome, are showing an association with alterations in the development of cranial sutures resulting in serious cosmetic defects and neurological disorders.

Concepts: Medical terms, Patient, Hospital, Syndromes, Genetic disorders, Syndrome, Alagille syndrome


Alagille syndrome (AGS) is a highly variable, autosomal dominant disease that affects multiple structures including the liver, heart, eyes, bones and face. Targeted region capture sequencing focuses on a panel of known pathogenic genes and provides a rapid, cost‑effective and accurate method for molecular diagnosis. In a Chinese family, this method was used on the proband and Sanger sequencing was applied to validate the candidate mutation. A de novo heterozygous mutation (c.3254_3255insT p.Leu1085PhefsX24) of the jagged 1 gene was identified as the potential disease‑causing gene mutation. In conclusion, the present study suggested that target region capture sequencing is an efficient, reliable and accurate approach for the clinical diagnosis of AGS. Furthermore, these results expand on the understanding of the pathogenesis of AGS.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Evolution, Molecular biology, Chromosome, DNA repair, Liver, Alagille syndrome


Alagille syndrome (AGS) is a complex multisystem disorder that involves mainly the liver, heart, eyes, face, and skeleton. The main associated clinical features are chronic cholestasis due to a paucity of intrahepatic bile ducts, congenital heart disease primarily affecting pulmonary arteries, vertebral abnormalities, ocular embryotoxon, and peculiar facies. The manifestations generally become evident at a pediatric age. AGS is caused by defects in the Notch signaling pathway due to mutations in JAG1 or NOTCH2. It is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern with a high degree of penetrance, but variable expressivity results in a wide range of clinical features. Here we report on a 31-year-old male patient who presented with elevated serum alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, and was diagnosed with AGS associated with the JAG1 mutation after a comprehensive workup.

Concepts: Heart, Liver, Hepatology, Pulmonary artery, Pediatrics, Alagille syndrome, JAG1, NOTCH2