Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, affecting 1.5%–6.5% of the world population. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs to treat this disease. Accumulating evidence suggests that metabolically hazardous visceral fat contributes to NASH progression by releasing fatty acids and proinflammatory mediators. Therefore, targeting adipose tissue to reduce adipose inflammation may provide an effective strategy to treat NASH. Another strategy is to target specific inflammatory mediators that are produced by adipose tissue and contribute to NASH progression. In this issue of the JCI, Liu, Xiang, et al. demonstrate that secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine-like protein 1 (SPARCL1) was highly upregulated in adipose tissue and played a role in exacerbating NASH progression in a mouse model of NASH. Thus, inhibition of SPARCL1 may provide another attractive strategy to tackle NASH.
Robim M. Rodrigues, Yukun Guan, Bin Gao
Adipose tissue inflammation promotes NASH progression via proinflammatory mediators, including SPARCL1.