α-SMA expression in liver. Rats were treated as described in the legend to Fig. 3. (A) In normal livers, α-SMA positivity was noted in smooth muscle cells of portal tract vessels and in a few cells surrounding terminal hepatic venules. (B, C) In BDL animals infected with the control virus (Ad5-CMV-EGFP), livers were highly enriched in α-SMA-positive HSC forming layers around the bile ductules. In addition, α-SMA positive cells in the periportal sinusoids were visible in the vicinity of ductular areas, consistent with the active recruitment of activated HSC by ductular structures.(D) BDL animals infected with Ad5-CMV-AS-TGF-β1 showed no significant increase in α-SMA staining. (E) Immunoblot analysis of α-SMA expression in livers of BDL rats (1-3), BDL rats infected with Ad5-CMV-AS-TGF-β1 (4–6), or normal control rats (7). As a positive control a total lysate from culture-activated HSC expressing high levels of the 42-kD α-SMA was loaded (8). Original magnifications are ×200 (A, D), ×100 (B), and ×400 (C), respectively.