Inhibition of acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase 2 (ACAT2) prevents dietary cholesterol-associated steatosis by enhancing hepatic triglyceride mobilization.
ABSTRACT: Acyl-CoA:cholesterol O-acyl transferase 2 (ACAT2) promotes cholesterol absorption by the intestine and the secretion of cholesteryl ester-enriched very low density lipoproteins by the liver. Paradoxically, mice lacking ACAT2 also exhibit mild hypertriglyceridemia. The present study addresses the unexpected role of ACAT2 in regulation of hepatic triglyceride (TG) metabolism. Mouse models of either complete genetic deficiency or pharmacological inhibition of ACAT2 were fed low fat diets containing various amounts of cholesterol to induce hepatic steatosis. Mice genetically lacking ACAT2 in both the intestine and the liver were dramatically protected against hepatic neutral lipid (TG and cholesteryl ester) accumulation, with the greatest differences occurring in situations where dietary cholesterol was elevated. Further studies demonstrated that liver-specific depletion of ACAT2 with antisense oligonucleotides prevents dietary cholesterol-associated hepatic steatosis both in an inbred mouse model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (SJL/J) and in a humanized hyperlipidemic mouse model (LDLr(-/-), apoB(100/100)). All mouse models of diminished ACAT2 function showed lowered hepatic triglyceride concentrations and higher plasma triglycerides secondary to increased hepatic secretion of TG into nascent very low density lipoproteins. This work demonstrates that inhibition of hepatic ACAT2 can prevent dietary cholesterol-driven hepatic steatosis in mice. These data provide the first evidence to suggest that ACAT2-specific inhibitors may hold unexpected therapeutic potential to treat both atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Project description:Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase 2 (ACAT2) generates cholesterol esters (CE) for packaging into newly synthesized lipoproteins and thus is a major determinant of blood cholesterol levels. ACAT2 is expressed exclusively in the small intestine and liver, but the relative contributions of ACAT2 expression in these tissues to systemic cholesterol metabolism is unknown. We investigated whether CE derived from the intestine or liver would differentially affect hepatic and plasma cholesterol homeostasis. We generated liver-specific (ACAT2(L-/L-)) and intestine-specific (ACAT2(SI-/SI-)) ACAT2 knockout mice and studied dietary cholesterol-induced hepatic lipid accumulation and hypercholesterolemia. ACAT2(SI-/SI-) mice, in contrast to ACAT2(L-/L-) mice, had blunted cholesterol absorption. However, specific deletion of ACAT2 in the intestine generated essentially a phenocopy of the conditional knockout of ACAT2 in the liver, with reduced levels of plasma very low-density lipoprotein and hepatic CE, yet hepatic-free cholesterol does not build up after high cholesterol intake. ACAT2(L-/L-) and ACAT2(SI-/SI-) mice were equally protected from diet-induced hepatic CE accumulation and hypercholesterolemia. These results suggest that inhibition of intestinal or hepatic ACAT2 improves atherogenic hyperlipidemia and limits hepatic CE accumulation in mice and that depletion of intestinal ACAT2 is sufficient for most of the beneficial effects on cholesterol metabolism. Inhibitors of ACAT2 targeting either tissue likely would be beneficial for atheroprotection.
Project description:OBJECTIVES: ACAT2 is the exclusive cholesterol-esterifying enzyme in hepatocytes and enterocytes. Hepatic ABCA1 transfers unesterified cholesterol (UC) to apoAI, thus generating HDL. By changing the hepatic UC pool available for ABCA1, ACAT2 may affect HDL metabolism. The aim of this study was to reveal whether hepatic ACAT2 influences HDL metabolism. DESIGN: WT and LXR?/? double knockout (DOKO) mice were fed a western-type diet for 8 weeks. Animals were i.p. injected with an antisense oligonucleotide targeted to hepatic ACAT2 (ASO6), or with an ASO control. Injections started 4 weeks after, or concomitantly with, the beginning of the diet. RESULTS: ASO6 reduced liver cholesteryl esters, while not inducing UC accumulation. ASO6 increased hepatic ABCA1 protein independently of the diet conditions. ASO6 affected HDL lipids (increased UC) only in DOKO, while it increased apoE-containing HDL in both genotypes. In WT mice ASO6 led to the appearance of large HDL enriched in apoAI and apoE. CONCLUSIONS: The use of ASO6 revealed a new pathway by which the liver may contribute to HDL metabolism in mice. ACAT2 seems to be a hepatic player affecting the cholesterol fluxes fated to VLDL or to HDL, the latter via up-regulation of ABCA1.
Project description:A missense mutation (E167K) in TM6SF2 (transmembrane 6 superfamily member 2), a polytopic protein of unknown function, is associated with the full spectrum of fatty liver disease. To investigate the role of TM6SF2 in hepatic triglyceride (TG) metabolism, we inactivated the gene in mice. Chronic inactivation of Tm6sf2 in mice is associated with hepatic steatosis, hypocholesterolemia, and transaminitis, thus recapitulating the phenotype observed in humans. No dietary challenge was required to elicit the phenotype. Immunocytochemical and cell fractionation studies revealed that TM6SF2 was present in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex, whereas the excess neutral lipids in the Tm6sf2(-/-) mice were located in lipid droplets. Plasma VLDL-TG levels were reduced in the KO animals due to a 3-fold decrease in VLDL-TG secretion rate without any associated reduction in hepatic apoB secretion. Both VLDL particle size and plasma cholesterol levels were significantly reduced in KO mice. Despite levels of TM6SF2 protein being 10-fold higher in the small intestine than in the liver, dietary lipid absorption was only modestly reduced in the KO mice. Our data, taken together, reveal that TM6SF2 is required to mobilize neutral lipids for VLDL assembly but is not required for secretion of apoB-containing lipoproteins. Despite TM6SF2 being located in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex, the lipids that accumulate in its absence reside in lipid droplets.
Project description:To investigate the effects of abolished cholic acid (CA) synthesis in the ApoE knockout model [apolipoprotein E (apoE) KO],a double-knockout (DKO) mouse model was created by crossbreeding Cyp8b1 knockout mice (Cyp8b1 KO), unable to synthesize the primary bile acid CA, with apoE KO mice. After 5 months of cholesterol feeding, the development of atherosclerotic plaques in the proximal aorta was 50% less in the DKO mice compared with the apoE KO mice. This effect was associated with reduced intestinal cholesterol absorption, decreased levels of apoB-containing lipoproteins in the plasma, enhanced bile acid synthesis, reduced hepatic cholesteryl esters, and decreased hepatic activity of ACAT2. The upregulation of Cyp7a1 in DKO mice seemed primarily caused by reduced expression of the intestinal peptide FGF15. Treatment of DKO mice with the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist GW4064 did not alter the intestinal cholesterol absorption, suggesting that the action of CA in this process is confined mainly to formation of intraluminal micelles and less to its ability to activate the nuclear receptor FXR. Inhibition of CA synthesis may offer a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of hyperlipidemic conditions that lead to atherosclerosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common liver diseases worldwide, although its pathogenesis remains to be elucidated. A recent study revealed that hepatic Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1), a cholesterol re-absorber from bile to the liver expressed on the bile canalicular membrane, is an exacerbation factor of NAFLD. Indeed, transgenic mice with hepatic expression of human NPC1L1 under a liver-specific promoter (L1-Tg mice) developed steatosis with a high-fat diet (HFD) containing cholesterol within a few weeks. However, the mechanism underlying diet-induced hepatic NPC1L1-mediated lipid accumulation is poorly defined. METHODS:To achieve a deeper understanding of steatosis development in L1-Tg mice, the biochemical features of hepatic NPC1L1-mediated steatosis were investigated. Hemizygous L1-Tg mice and wild-type littermate controls fed a HFD or control-fat diet were used. At the indicated time points, the livers were evaluated for cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) contents as well as mRNA levels of hepatic genes involved in the maintenance of lipid homeostasis. The hepatic ability to secrete very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-TG was also investigated. RESULTS:Unlike the livers of wild-type mice that have little expression of hepatic Npc1l1, the livers of L1-Tg mice displayed time-dependent changes that indicated steatosis formation. In steatosis, there were three different stages of development: mild accumulation of hepatic cholesterol and TG (early stage), acceleration of hepatic TG accumulation (middle stage), and further accumulation of hepatic cholesterol (late stage). In the early stage, between WT and L1-Tg mice fed a HFD for 2?weeks, there were no significant differences in the hepatic expression of Ppar?, Acox1, Fat/Cd36, Srebf1, and Srebf2; however, the hepatic ability to secrete VLDL-TG decreased in L1-Tg mice (P?<?0.05). Furthermore, this decrease was completely prevented by administration of ezetimibe, an NPC1L1-selective inhibitor. CONCLUSION:Hepatic NPC1L1 exacerbates diet-induced steatosis, which was accompanied by decreased hepatic ability of VLDL-TG secretion. The obtained results provide a deeper understanding of L1-Tg mice as a promising NAFLD animal model that is able to re-absorb biliary-secreted cholesterol similar to humans. Furthermore, this work supports further studies of the pathophysiological impact of re-absorbed biliary cholesterol on the regulation of hepatic lipid homeostasis.
Project description:HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy (HIV/ART) exhibit a unique atherogenic dyslipidemic profile with hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) and low plasma concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. In the Heart Positive Study of HIV/ART patients, a hypolipidemic therapy of fenofibrate, niacin, diet, and exercise reduced HTG and plasma non-HDL cholesterol concentrations and raised plasma HDL cholesterol and adiponectin concentrations. We tested the hypothesis that HIV/ART HDL have abnormal structures and properties and are dysfunctional.Hypolipidemic therapy reduced the TG contents of low-density lipoprotein and HDL. At baseline, HIV/ART low-density lipoproteins were more triglyceride (TG)-rich and HDL were more TG- and cholesteryl ester-rich than the corresponding lipoproteins from normolipidemic (NL) subjects. Very-low-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoprotein, and HDL were larger than the corresponding lipoproteins from NL subjects; HIV/ART HDL were less stable than NL HDL. HDL-[(3)H]cholesteryl ester uptake by Huh7 hepatocytes was used to assess HDL functionality. HIV/ART plasma were found to contain significantly less competitive inhibition activity for hepatocyte HDL-cholesteryl ester uptake than NL plasma were found to contain (P<0.001).Compared with NL subjects, lipoproteins from HIV/ART patients are larger and more neutral lipid-rich, and their HDL are less stable and less receptor-competent. On the basis of this work and previous studies of lipase activity in HIV, we present a model in which plasma lipolytic activities or hepatic cholesteryl ester uptake are impaired in HIV/ART patients. These findings provide a rationale to determine whether the distinctive lipoprotein structure, properties, and function of HIV/ART HDL predict atherosclerosis as assessed by carotid artery intimal medial thickness.
Project description:Eugenol, a component of essential oils of medicinal and food plants, has a hypolipidemic effect in experimental animals although its mechanism of action is still unclear. This study aims to explore the mechanism of the hypolipidemic effect of eugenol in rats fed a high cholesterol and fat diet (HCFD). Eugenol significantly reduced total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), atherogenic index (AI) but not high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or triglycerides (TG). Eugenol also decreased steatosis and hepatic inflammation in liver sections, decreased hepatomegaly, and the hepatic marker enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and increased the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activity in hypercholesterolemic rats. Eugenol did not inhibit hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase but caused down-regulation of transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV1) channels in the liver. Docking simulation using fast, rigid exhaustive docking (FRED) software indicated a tail-up/head-down interaction of eugenol with TRPV1 channel. Data indicate that eugenol does not inhibit HMG-CoA reductase but rather induces its action by interaction with TRPV1 channels.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is positively associated with obesity and cardiovascular disease risk. Apo-10'-lycopenoic acid (APO10LA), a potential oxidation product of apo-10'-lycopenal that is generated endogenously by ?-carotene-9',10'-oxygenase (BCO2) cleavage of lycopene, inhibited hepatic steatosis in BCO2-expressing mice.<h4>Objective</h4>The present study evaluated lycopene and APO10LA effects on hepatic steatosis in mice without BCO2 expression.<h4>Methods</h4>Male and female BCO2-knockout (BCO2-KO) mice were fed a high saturated fat diet (HSFD) with or without APO10LA (10 mg/kg diet) or lycopene (100 mg/kg diet) for 12 wk.<h4>Results</h4>Lycopene or APO10LA supplementation reduced hepatic steatosis incidence (78% and 72%, respectively) and severity in BCO2-KO male mice. Female mice did not develop steatosis, had greater hepatic total cholesterol (3.06 vs. 2.31 mg/g tissue) and cholesteryl ester (1.58 vs. 0.86 mg/g tissue), but had lower plasma triglyceride (TG) (229 vs. 282 mg/dL) and cholesterol (97.1 vs. 119 mg/dL) than male mice. APO10LA-mitigated steatosis in males was associated with reduced hepatic total cholesterol (18%) and activated sirtuin 1 signaling, which resulted in reduced fatty acids (FAs) and TG synthesis markers [stearoyl-coenzyme A (CoA) desaturase protein, 71%; acetyl-CoA carboxylase phosphorylation, 79%; AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation, 67%], and elevated cholesterol efflux genes (cytochrome P450 family 7A1, 65%; ATP-binding cassette transporter G5/8, 11%). These APO10LA-mediated effects were not mimicked by lycopene supplementation. Intriguingly, steatosis inhibition by lycopene induced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)?- and PPAR?-related genes in mesenteric adipose tissue (MAT) that increases mitochondrial uncoupling [cell death-inducing DNA fragmentation factor, ? subunit-like effector a, 55%; PR domain-containing 16, 47%; uncoupling protein 3 (Ucp3), 55%], FA ?-oxidation (PPAR?, 53%; very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 38%), and uptake (FA transport protein 4, 29%; lipoprotein lipase 43%). Expressions of 10 MAT PPAR-related genes were inversely correlated with steatosis score, suggesting that lycopene reduced steatosis by increasing MAT FA utilization.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our data suggest that lycopene and APO10LA inhibit HSFD-induced steatosis in BCO2-KO male mice through differential mechanisms. Sex disparity of BCO2-KO mice was observed in the outcomes of HSFD-induced liver steatosis and plasma lipids.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Two major risk factors for the onset of fatty liver disease are excessive alcohol intake and obesity, the latter being associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of this study was to examine the effects of black rice extract (BRE) on hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance in high-fat diet-fed mice, providing a model of NAFLD. METHODS: Twenty-four mice were randomly divided into three groups (n = 8 in each group): normal fat diet (ND), high fat diet (HF), and high fat diet supplemented with 1% (w/w) BRE (HF +1% BRE). The experimental diets were fed for seven weeks. RESULTS: A HF induced hepatic steatosis with significant increases in the serum levels of free fatty acids (FFAs), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), and insulin. By contrast, supplementary BRE (10 g/kg of diet) included in the HF alleviated hepatic steatosis and significantly decreased serum TG and TC levels (p < 0.01 for both). Dietary BRE also increased expression of fatty acid metabolism-related genes, including carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT1A), acyl-CoA oxidase (ACO), cytochrome P450 (CYP4A10), and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR)-? (p < 0.05 for all). CONCLUSIONS: Dietary BRE supplementation improved serum lipid profiles and significantly enhanced mRNA expression levels of fatty acid metabolism-related genes, primarily via ?-oxidation and ?-oxidation in the liver. Taken together, these findings suggest that a BRE-supplemented diet could be useful in reducing the risks of hepatic steatosis and related disorders, including hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia.
Project description:Inhibition of VLDL secretion reduces plasma levels of atherogenic apolipoprotein B (apoB) lipoproteins but can also cause hepatic steatosis. Approaches targeting apoB synthesis, which lies upstream of VLDL secretion, have potential to effectively reduce dyslipidemia but can also lead to hepatic accumulation of unsecreted triglycerides (TG). Here, we found that treating mice with apoB antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) for 6 weeks decreased VLDL secretion and plasma cholesterol without causing steatosis. The absence of steatosis was linked to an increase in ER stress in the first 3 weeks of ASO treatment, followed by development of ER autophagy at the end of 6 weeks of treatment. The latter resulted in increased fatty acid (FA) oxidation that was inhibited by both chloroquine and 3-methyl adenine, consistent with trafficking of ER TG through the autophagic pathway before oxidation. These findings support the concept that inhibition of apoB synthesis traps lipids that have been transferred to the ER by microsomal TG transfer protein (MTP), inducing ER stress. ER stress then triggers ER autophagy and subsequent lysosomal lipolysis of TG, followed by mitochondrial oxidation of released FA, leading to prevention of steatosis. The identification of this pathway indicates that inhibition of VLDL secretion remains a viable target for therapies aiming to reduce circulating levels of atherogenic apoB lipoproteins.