Hepatocyte death is a central event during liver disease progression, in which immune cells play key roles by activating members of the Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily (TNFRSF), including TNFR1 (TNFRSF1A), Fas (TNFRSF6) and TRAIL-R2 (TNFRSF10B). Receptor Interacting Protein Kinase 1 (RIPK1) emerged as a signaling node downstream of these receptors. In the case of TNFR1, RIPK1 has been demonstrated to paradoxically serve as a scaffold to promote the survival of hepatocytes and as a kinase to kill them. To evaluate whether RIPK1 also protects hepatocytes from death in response to FasL or TRAIL, we took advantage of liver parenchymal cell-specific Ripk1 knockout mice (Ripk1 LPC-KO). We found that Ripk1 LPC-KO mice, as well as primary hepatocytes derived from them, were more susceptible to Fas-mediated apoptosis than their respective WT counterparts. Fas-induced hepatocyte death was independent of TNF-α signaling. Interestingly, while TRAIL administration did not induce hepatitis in Ripk1 LPC-KO mice or in their WT counterparts, its combination with IFN-γ only induced TNF-α dependent apoptosis in the Ripk1 LPC-KO mice. Together, our data demonstrate the protective role of RIPK1 downstream of Fas and highlight the general protective function of RIPK1 in hepatocytes exposed to inflammatory conditions, where TNF-α, FasL and/or TRAIL are present.
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