The endocannabinoid system regulates appetite and energy expenditure and inhibitors of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB-1) induce weight loss with improvement in components of the metabolic syndrome. While CB-1 blockage in brain is responsible for weight loss, many of the metabolic benefits associated with CB-1 blockade have been attributed to inhibition of CB-1 signaling in the periphery. As a result, there has been interest in developing a peripherally restricted CB-1 inhibitor for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that would lack the unwanted centrally mediated side effects. Here, we produced mice that lacked CB-1 in hepatocytes or stellate cells to determine if CB-1 signaling contributes to the development of NAFLD or liver fibrosis. Deletion of CB-1 in hepatocytes did not alter the development of NAFLD in mice fed a high-sucrose diet (HSD) or a high-fat diet (HFD). Similarly, deletion of CB-1 specifically in stellate cells also did not prevent the development of NAFLD in mice fed the HFD, nor did it protect mice from carbon tetrachloride–induced fibrosis. Combined, these studies do not support a direct role for hepatocyte or stellate cell CB-1 signaling in the development of NAFLD or liver fibrosis.
Simeng Wang, Qingzhang Zhu, Guosheng Liang, Tania Franks, Magalie Boucher, Kendra K. Bence, Mingjian Lu, Carlos M. Castorena, Shangang Zhao, Joel K. Elmquist, Philipp E. Scherer, Jay D. Horton