Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming a major health issue as obesity increases around the world. We studied the effect of a circadian locomotor output cycles kaput (CLOCK) mutant (ClkΔ19/Δ19) protein on hepatic lipid metabolism in C57Bl6 Clkwt/wt and apolipoprotein E–deficient (Apoe−/−) mice. Both ClkΔ19/Δ19 and ClkΔ19/Δ19Apoe−/− mice developed a full spectrum of liver diseases (steatosis, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma) recognized in human NAFLD when challenged with a Western diet, lipopolysaccharide, or CoCl2. We identified induction of cluster of differentiation 36 (CD36) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) proteins as contributing factors for NAFLD. Mechanistic studies showed that wild-type CLOCK protein interacted with the E-box enhancer elements in the promoters of the proline hydroxylase domain (PHD) proteins to increase expression. In ClkΔ19/Δ19 mice, PHD levels were low, and HIF1α protein levels were increased. When its levels were high, HIF1α interacted with the Cd36 promoter to augment expression and enhance fatty acid uptake. Thus, these studies establish a novel regulatory link among circadian rhythms, hypoxia response, fatty acid uptake, and NAFLD. The mouse models described here may be useful for further mechanistic studies in the progression of liver diseases and in the discovery of drugs for the treatment of these disorders.
Xiaoyue Pan, Joyce Queiroz, M. Mahmood Hussain
The prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing worldwide. Although gene-environment interactions have been implicated in the etiology of several disorders, the impact of paternal and/or maternal metabolic syndrome on the clinical phenotypes of offspring and the underlying genetic and epigenetic contributors of NAFLD have not been fully explored. To this end, we used the liver-specific insulin receptor knockout (LIRKO) mouse, a unique nondietary model manifesting 3 hallmarks that confer high risk for the development of NAFLD: hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. We report that parental metabolic syndrome epigenetically reprograms members of the TGF-β family, including neuronal regeneration–related protein (NREP) and growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15). NREP and GDF15 modulate the expression of several genes involved in the regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism. In particular, NREP downregulation increases the protein abundance of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR) and ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) in a TGF-β receptor/PI3K/protein kinase B–dependent manner, to regulate hepatic acetyl-CoA and cholesterol synthesis. Reduced hepatic expression of NREP in patients with NAFLD and substantial correlations between low serum NREP levels and the presence of steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis highlight the clinical translational relevance of our findings in the context of recent preclinical trials implicating ACLY in NAFLD progression.
Dario F. De Jesus, Kazuki Orime, Dorota Kaminska, Tomohiko Kimura, Giorgio Basile, Chih-Hao Wang, Larissa Haertle, Renzo Riemens, Natalie K. Brown, Jiang Hu, Ville Männistö, Amélia M. Silva, Ercument Dirice, Yu-Hua Tseng, Thomas Haaf, Jussi Pihlajamäki, Rohit N. Kulkarni
BACKGROUND HBV-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (HBV-ACLF) is hallmarked by high short-term mortality rates, calling for accurate prognostic biomarkers for initial risk stratification.METHODS Three tandem mass tag–labeled (TMT-labeled) quantitative proteomic studies were performed on 10 patients with HBV-related acute hepatic decompensation and on 20 patients with HBV-ACLF. Candidate biomarkers were preliminarily verified in a cross-sectional cohort (n = 144) and further confirmed in 2 prospective cohorts (n = 207 and n = 148).RESULTS Plasminogen, a potential prognostic biomarker for HBV-ACLF, was identified by TMT quantitative proteomics and preliminarily verified in the cross-sectional cohort. Further validation with a prospective cohort (n = 207) showed that plasminogen levels at admission were significantly lower (P < 0.001) in HBV-ACLF nonsurvivors than in survivors. The cumulative survival duration of patients with high plasminogen levels was significantly longer (P < 0.001) than that of patients with low plasminogen levels. During hospitalization, plasminogen levels significantly decreased (P = 0.008) in the deterioration group but significantly increased (P < 0.001) in the improvement group. Additionally, plasminogen levels gradually increased in survivors but gradually decreased in nonsurvivors. The P5 score, a prognostic panel incorporating plasminogen levels, hepatic encephalopathy occurrence, age, international normalized ratio (INR), and total bilirubin, was significantly superior to the Child-Pugh, Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD), Chronic Liver Failure Consortium ACLF (CLIF-C ACLF), Chinese Group on the Study of Severe Hepatitis B (COSSH), and HINT (a prognostic score based on hepatic encephalopathy occurrence, INR, neutrophil count, and thyroid-stimulating hormone) scores (all P < 0.05). The performances of the plasminogen level and P5 score were validated in a second multicenter, prospective cohort (n = 148).CONCLUSIONS Plasminogen is a promising prognostic biomarker for HBV-ACLF, and sequential plasminogen measurements could profile the clinical course of HBV-ACLF. P5 is a high-performance prognostic score for HBV-ACLF.FUNDING The National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFC1200204); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81400589, 81600497); the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81121002); the Chinese High-Tech Research and Development Programs (2012AA020204); the National S&T Major Project (2012ZX10002004); and the Zhejiang Provincial Medicine and Health Science and Technology Project (2016147735).
Daxian Wu, Sainan Zhang, Zhongyang Xie, Ermei Chen, Qunfang Rao, Xiaoli Liu, Kaizhou Huang, Jing Yang, Lanlan Xiao, Feiyang Ji, Zhengyi Jiang, Yalei Zhao, Xiaoxi Ouyang, Danhua Zhu, Xiahong Dai, Zhouhua Hou, Bingjie Liu, Binbin Deng, Ning Zhou, Hainv Gao, Zeyu Sun, Lanjuan Li
In patients with HBV and HCV coinfection, HBV reactivation leading to severe hepatitis has been reported with the use of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) to treat HCV infection. Here we study the molecular mechanisms behind this viral interaction. In coinfected cell culture and humanized mice, HBV replication was suppressed by HCV coinfection. In vitro, HBV suppression was attenuated when interferon signaling was blocked. In vivo, HBV viremia, after initial suppression by HCV super-infection, rebounded following HCV clearance by DAA treatment that was accompanied by a reduced hepatic interferon response. Using blood samples of coinfected patients, interferon-stimulated gene products including C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10) and C-C motif chemokine ligand 5 (CCL5), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were identified to have predictive value for HBV reactivation after HCV clearance. Taken together, our data suggest that HBV reactivation is a result of diminished hepatic interferon response following HCV clearance and identifies serologic markers that can predict HBV reactivation in DAA-treated HBV-HCV coinfected persons.
Xiaoming Cheng, Takuro Uchida, Yuchen Xia, Regina Umarova, Chun-Jen Liu, Pei-Jer Chen, Anuj Gaggar, Vithika Suri, Marcus Maximilian Mücke, Johannes Vermehren, Stefan Zeuzem, Yuji Teraoka, Mitsutaka Osawa, Hiroshi Aikata, Keiji Tsuji, Nami Mori, Shuhei Hige, Yoshiyasu Karino, Michio Imamura, Kazuaki Chayama, T. Jake Liang
De novo lipogenesis is tightly regulated by insulin and nutritional signals to maintain metabolic homeostasis; excessive lipogenesis induces lipotoxicity, leading to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes. Genetic lipogenic programs have been extensively investigated, but epigenetic regulation of lipogenesis is poorly understood. Here, we identified Slug as an important epigenetic regulator of lipogenesis. Hepatic Slug levels were markedly upregulated in mice by either feeding or insulin treatment. In primary hepatocytes, insulin stimulation increased Slug expression, stability, and interactions with epigenetic enzyme lysine-specific demethylase-1 (Lsd1). Slug bound to the fatty acid synthase (Fasn) promoter where Slug-associated Lsd1 catalyzed H3K9 demethylation, thereby stimulating Fasn expression and lipogenesis. Ablation of Slug blunted insulin-stimulated lipogenesis; conversely, overexpression of Slug, but not a Lsd1 binding-defective Slug mutant, stimulated Fasn expression and lipogenesis. Lsd1 inhibitor treatment also blocked Slug-stimulated lipogenesis. Remarkably, hepatocyte-specific deletion of Slug inhibited the hepatic lipogenic program and protected against obesity-associated NAFLD, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance in mice. Conversely, liver-restricted overexpression of Slug, but not the Lsd1 binding-defective Slug mutant, had the opposite effects. These results unveil an insulin/Slug/Lsd1/H3K9 demethylation lipogenic pathway that promotes NAFLD and type 2 diabetes.
Yan Liu, Haiyan Lin, Lin Jiang, Qingsen Shang, Lei Yin, Jiandie D. Lin, Wen-Shu Wu, Liangyou Rui
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is clearly age-related and represents one of the deadliest cancer types worldwide. Due to globally increasing risk factors including metabolic disorders, the incidence rates of HCC are still rising. However, the molecular hallmarks of HCC remain poorly understood. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and NPY-receptors represent a highly conserved, stress-activated system which is involved in diverse cancer-related hallmarks including aging and metabolic alterations, but its impact on liver cancer had been unclear. Here, we observed increased NPY5-receptor (Y5R) expression in HCC which correlated with tumor growth and survival. Furthermore, we found that its ligand NPY was secreted by peri-tumorous hepatocytes. Hepatocyte-derived NPY promoted HCC progression by Y5R-activation. Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) was identified as a regulator of NPY in hepatocytes and induced Y5R in invasive cancer cells. Moreover, NPY-conversion by dipeptidylpeptidase 4 (DPP4) augmented Y5R-activation and function in liver cancer. The TGFβ-NPY-Y5R-axis and DPP4 represent attractive therapeutic targets for controlling liver cancer progression.
Peter Dietrich, Laura Wormser, Valerie Fritz, Tatjana Seitz, Monica De Maria, Alexandra Schambony, Andreas E. Kremer, Claudia Günther, Timo Itzel, Wolfgang E. Thasler, Andreas Teufel, Jonel Trebicka, Arndt Hartmann, Markus F. Neurath, Stephan von Hörsten, Anja Bosserhoff, Claus Hellerbrand
Severe alcoholic hepatitis (SAH) is a deadly liver disease without an effective medical therapy. Although SAH mortality is known to correlate with hepatic accumulation of immature liver cells, why this occurs, and how it causes death is unclear. Here, we demonstrated that expression of epithelial splicing regulatory protein-2 (ESRP2), an RNA splicing factor that maintains the non-proliferative, mature phenotype of adult hepatocytes, was suppressed in both human SAH and various mouse models of SAH in parallel with the severity of alcohol consumption and liver damage. Inflammatory cytokines released by excessive alcohol ingestion reprogrammed adult hepatocytes into proliferative, fetal-like cells by suppressing ESRP2. Sustained loss of ESRP2 permitted re-emergence of a fetal RNA splicing program that attenuates the Hippo signaling pathway and thus, allows fetal transcriptional regulators to accumulate in adult liver. We further showed that depleting ESRP2 in mice exacerbated alcohol-induced steatohepatitis, enabling surviving hepatocytes to shed adult hepatocyte functions and become more regenerative but threatens overall survival by populating the liver with functionally-immature hepatocytes. Our findings revealed a novel mechanism that explains why liver failure develops in patients with the clinical syndrome of SAH, suggesting that recovery from SAH might be improved by limiting adult-to-fetal reprogramming in hepatocytes.
Jeongeun Hyun, Zhaoli Sun, Ali Reza Ahmadi, Sushant Bangru, Ullas V. Chembazhi, Kuo Du, Tianyi Chen, Hidekazu Tsukamoto, Ivan Rusyn, Auinash Kalsotra, Anna Mae Diehl
Background. An increase in intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) is the hallmark feature of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and is decreased by weight loss. Hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) contributes to steatosis in people with NAFLD. The physiological factors that stimulate hepatic DNL and the effect of weight loss on hepatic DNL are not clear.Methods. Hepatic DNL, 24-h integrated plasma insulin and glucose concentrations, and both liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were determined in people who were lean (n = 14), obese with normal IHTG content (Obese, n = 26) and obese with NAFLD (Obese-NAFLD, n = 27). Hepatic DNL was assessed by using the deuterated water method corrected for the potential confounding contribution of adipose tissue DNL. Liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were assessed by using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure in conjunction with glucose tracer infusion. Six subjects in the Obese-NAFLD group were also evaluated before and after 10% diet-induced weight loss.Results. The contribution of hepatic DNL to IHTG-palmitate was 11%, 19% and 38% in the Lean, Obese and Obese-NAFLD groups, respectively. Hepatic DNL was inversely correlated with hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity, but directly correlated with 24-h plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Weight loss decreased IHTG content, in conjunction with a decrease in hepatic DNL and 24-h plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Conclusions. These data suggest hepatic DNL is an important regulator of IHTG content, and that increases in circulating glucose and insulin stimulate hepatic DNL in people with NAFLD. Weight loss decreases IHTG content, at least in part, by decreasing hepatic DNL.
Gordon I. Smith, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Mihoko Yoshino, George G. Schweitzer, Maria Chondronikola, Joseph W. Beals, Adewole L. Okunade, Bruce W. Patterson, Edna Nyangau, Tyler Field, Claude B. Sirlin, Saswata Talukdar, Marc K. Hellerstein, Samuel Klein
John M. Carethers
SAB is an outer membrane docking protein for JNK mediated impaired mitochondrial function. Deletion of Sab in hepatocytes inhibits sustained JNK activation and cell death. Current work demonstrated that increasing SAB enhanced the severity of APAP liver injury. Female mice were resistant to liver injury and exhibited markedly decreased hepatic SAB protein expression versus males. The mechanism of SAB repression involved a pathway from ERα to p53 expression which induced miR34a-5p. miR34a-5p targeted the Sab mRNA coding region, repressing SAB expression. Fulvestrant or p53 knockdown decreased miR34a-5p and increased SAB in females leading to increased injury from APAP and TNF/galactosamine. In contrast, ERα agonist increased p53 and miR34a-5p which decreased SAB expression and hepatotoxicity in males. Hepatocyte-specific deletion of miR34a also increased severity of liver injury in females, which was prevented by GalNAc-ASO knockdown of Sab. Similar to mice, premenopausal human females also expressed high hepatic p53 and low SAB levels while age-matched males expressed low p53 and high SAB levels, but there was no sex difference of SAB expression in postmenopause. In conclusion, the level of SAB expression determined the severity of JNK dependent liver injury. Females expressed low hepatic SAB protein levels due to an ERα-p53-miR34a pathway which repressed SAB expression, accounting for resistance to liver injury.
Sanda Win, Robert W.M. Min, Christopher Q. Chen, Jun Zhang, Yibu Chen, Meng Li, Ayako Suzuki, Manal F. Abdelmalek, Ying Wang, Mariam Aghajan, Filbert W.M. Aung, Anna Mae Diehl, Roger J. Davis, Tin A. Than, Neil Kaplowitz