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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Frontiers in Physiology, Volume 9, Issue 4, October 2018, Article number 1377.

The published version is available at Copyright © Verma et al.


Dynamics as well as localization of Ca2+ transients plays a vital role in liver function under homeostatic conditions, repair, and disease. In response to circulating hormonal stimuli, hepatocytes exhibit intracellular Ca2+ responses that propagate through liver lobules in a wave-like fashion. Although intracellular processes that control cell autonomous Ca2+ spiking behavior have been studied extensively, the intra- and inter-cellular signaling factors that regulate lobular scale spatial patterns and wave-like propagation of Ca2+ remain to be determined. To address this need, we acquired images of cytosolic Ca2+ transients in 1300 hepatocytes situated across several mouse liver lobules over a period of 1600 s. We analyzed this time series data using correlation network analysis, causal network analysis, and computational modeling, to characterize the spatial distribution of heterogeneity in intracellular Ca2+ signaling components as well as intercellular interactions that control lobular scale Ca2+ waves. Our causal network analysis revealed that hepatocytes are causally linked to multiple other co-localized hepatocytes, but these influences are not necessarily aligned uni-directionally along the sinusoids. Our computational model-based analysis showed that spatial gradients of intracellular Ca2+ signaling components as well as intercellular molecular exchange are required for lobular scale propagation of Ca2+ waves. Additionally, our analysis suggested that causal influences of hepatocytes on Ca2+ responses of multiple neighbors lead to robustness of Ca2+ wave propagation through liver lobules. © 2007 - 2018 Frontiers Media S.A.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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