Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 deletion in mice prevents high-fat diet-induced fatty liver by reducing lipogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) mediates intestinal absorption of dietary and biliary cholesterol. Ezetimibe, by inhibiting NPC1L1 function, is widely used to treat hypercholesterolemia in humans. Interestingly, ezetimibe treatment appears to attenuate hepatic steatosis in rodents and humans without a defined mechanism. Over-consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) represents a major cause of metabolic disorders including fatty liver. To determine whether and how NPC1L1 deficiency prevents HFD-induced hepatic steatosis, in this study, we fed NPC1L1 knockout (L1-KO) mice and their wild-type (WT) controls an HFD, and found that 24 weeks of HFD feeding causes no fatty liver in L1-KO mice. Hepatic fatty acid synthesis and levels of mRNAs for lipogenic genes are substantially reduced but hepatic lipoprotein-triglyceride production, fatty acid oxidation, and triglyceride hydrolysis remain unaltered in L1-KO versus WT mice. Strikingly, L1-KO mice are completely protected against HFD-induced hyperinsulinemia under both fed and fasted states and during glucose challenge. Despite similar glucose tolerance, L1-KO relative WT mice are more insulin sensitive and in the overnight-fasted state display significantly lower plasma glucose concentrations. In conclusion, NPC1L1 deficiency in mice prevents HFD-induced fatty liver by reducing hepatic lipogenesis, at least in part, through attenuating HFD-induced insulin resistance, a state known to drive hepatic lipogenesis through elevated circulating insulin levels.
Project description:Controversies have arisen from recent mouse studies about the essential role of biliary sterol secretion in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). The objective of this study was to examine the role of biliary cholesterol secretion in modulating macrophage RCT in Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) liver only (L1(LivOnly)) mice, an animal model that is defective in both biliary sterol secretion and intestinal sterol absorption, and determine whether NPC1L1 inhibitor ezetimibe facilitates macrophage RCT by inhibiting hepatic NPC1L1.L1(LivOnly) mice were generated by crossing NPC1L1 knockout (L1-KO) mice with transgenic mice overexpressing human NPC1L1 specifically in liver. Macrophage-to-feces RCT was assayed in L1-KO and L1(LivOnly) mice injected intraperitoneally with [(3)H]-cholesterol-labeled peritoneal macrophages isolated from C57BL/6 mice. Inhibition of biliary sterol secretion by hepatic overexpression of NPC1L1 substantially reduced transport of [(3)H]-cholesterol from primary peritoneal macrophages to the neutral sterol fraction in bile and feces in L1(LivOnly) mice without affecting tracer excretion in the bile acid fraction. Ezetimibe treatment for 2 weeks completely restored both biliary and fecal excretion of [(3)H]-tracer in the neutral sterol fraction in L1(LivOnly) mice. High-density lipoprotein kinetic studies showed that L1(LivOnly) mice compared with L1-KO mice had a significantly reduced fractional catabolic rate without altered hepatic and intestinal uptake of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol ether.In mice lacking intestinal cholesterol absorption, macrophage-to-feces RCT depends on efficient biliary sterol secretion, and ezetimibe promotes macrophage RCT by inhibiting hepatic NPC1L1 function.
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:We have previously observed that knockout of Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1), a cholesterol transporter essential for intestinal cholesterol absorption, reduces the output of dry stool in mice. As the food intake remains unaltered in NPC1L1-knockout (L1-KO) mice, we hypothesized that NPC1L1 deficiency may alter the gut microbiome to reduce stool output. Consistently, here we demonstrate that the phyla of fecal microbiota differ substantially between L1-KO mice and their wild-type controls. Germ-free (GF) mice have reduced stool output. Inhibition of NPC1L1 by its inhibitor ezetimibe reduces stool output in specific pathogen-free (SPF), but not GF mice. In addition, we show that GF versus SPF mice have reduced intestinal absorption and increased fecal excretion of cholesterol, particularly after treatment with ezetimibe. This negative balance of cholesterol in GF mice is associated with reduced plasma and hepatic cholesterol, and likely caused by reduced expression of NPC1L1 and increased expression of ABCG5 and ABCG8 in small intestine. Expression levels of other genes in intestine and liver largely reflect a state of cholesterol depletion and a decrease in intestinal sensing of bile acids. Altogether, our findings reveal a broad role of microbiota in regulating whole-body cholesterol homeostasis and its response to a cholesterol-lowering drug, ezetimibe.
Project description:Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) mediates intestinal cholesterol absorption. NPC1L1 knockout (L1-KO) mice were recently shown to be resistant to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity in one study, which was contrary to several other studies. Careful comparison of dietary compositions in these studies implies a potential role of dietary cholesterol in regulating weight gain. To examine this potential, wild-type (WT) and L1-KO mice were fed one of three sets of diets for various durations: (1) a HFD without added cholesterol for 5 weeks; (2) a high-carbohydrate diet with or without added cholesterol for 5 weeks; or (3) a synthetic HFD with or without added cholesterol for 18 weeks. We found that L1-KO mice were protected against diet-induced weight gain only on a diet without added cholesterol but not on a diet containing 0.16% or 0.2% (w/w) cholesterol, an amount similar to a typical Western diet, regardless of the major energy source of the diet. Food intake and intestinal fat absorption were similar between the two genotypes. Intestinal cholesterol absorption was blocked, and fecal cholesterol excretion increased in L1-KO mice. Under all diets, L1-KO mice were protected from hepatosteatosis. In conclusion, increasing dietary cholesterol restores diet-induced weight gain in mice deficient in NPC1L1-dependent cholesterol absorption.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:The correlation between intestinal cholesterol absorption values and plasma low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels remains controversial. Niemann-Pick-C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) is essential for intestinal cholesterol absorption, and is the target of ezetimibe, a cholesterol absorption inhibitor. However, studies with NPC1L1 knockout mice or ezetimibe cannot definitively clarify this correlation because NPC1L1 expression is not restricted to intestine in humans and mice. In this study we sought to genetically address this issue. METHODS AND RESULTS:We developed a mouse model that lacks endogenous (NPC1L1) and LDL receptor (LDLR) (DKO), but transgenically expresses human NPC1L1 in gastrointestinal tract only (DKO/L1(IntOnly) mice). Our novel model eliminated potential effects of non-intestinal NPC1L1 on cholesterol homeostasis. We found that human NPC1L1 was localized at the intestinal brush border membrane of DKO/L1(IntOnly) mice. Cholesterol feeding induced formation of NPC1L1-positive vesicles beneath this membrane in an ezetimibe-sensitive manner. Compared to DKO mice, DKO/L1(IntOnly) mice showed significant increases in cholesterol absorption and blood/hepatic/biliary cholesterol. Increased blood cholesterol was restricted to very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and LDL fractions, which was associated with increased secretion and plasma levels of apolipoproteins B100 and B48. Additionally, DKO/L1(IntOnly) mice displayed decreased fecal cholesterol excretion and hepatic/intestinal expression of cholesterologenic genes. Ezetimibe treatment virtually reversed all of the transgene-related phenotypes in DKO/L1(IntOnly) mice. CONCLUSION:Our findings from DKO/L1(IntOnly) mice clearly demonstrate that NPC1L1-mediated cholesterol absorption is a major determinant of blood levels of apolipoprotein B-containing atherogenic lipoproteins, at least in mice.
Project description:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a serious global public health concern. Nevertheless, there are no specific medications for treating the associated abnormal accumulation of hepatic lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides. While seminal findings suggest a link between hepatic cholesterol accumulation and NAFLD progression, the molecular bases of these associations are not well understood. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that hepatic Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1), a cholesterol re-absorber from bile to the liver, can cause steatosis, an early stage of NAFLD using genetically engineered L1-Tg mice characterized by hepatic expression of NPC1L1 under the control of ApoE promoter. Contrary to wild-type mice that have little expression of hepatic Npc1l1, the livers of L1-Tg mice fed a high-fat diet became steatotic within only a few weeks. Moreover, hepatic NPC1L1-mediated steatosis was not only prevented, but completely rescued, by orally administered ezetimibe, a well-used lipid-lowering drug on the global market, even under high-fat diet feedings. These results indicate that hepatic NPC1L1 is an NAFLD-exacerbating factor amendable to therapeutic intervention and would extend our understanding of the vital role of cholesterol uptake from bile in the development of NAFLD. Furthermore, administration of a TLR4 inhibitor also prevented the hepatic NPC1L1-mediated steatosis formation, suggesting a latent link between physiological roles of hepatic NPC1L1 and regulation of innate immune system. Our results revealed that hepatic NPC1L1 is a novel NAFLD risk factor contributing to steatosis formation that is rescued by ezetimibe; additionally, our findings uncover feasible opportunities for repositioning drugs to treat NAFLD in the near future.
Project description:Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1) is required for cholesterol absorption. Intestinal NPC1L1 appears to be a target of ezetimibe, a cholesterol absorption inhibitor that effectively lowers plasma LDL-cholesterol in humans. However, human liver also expresses NPC1L1. Hepatic function of NPC1L1 was previously unknown, but we recently discovered that NPC1L1 localizes to the canalicular membrane of primate hepatocytes and that NPC1L1 facilitates cholesterol uptake in hepatoma cells. Based upon these findings, we hypothesized that hepatic NPC1L1 allows the retention of biliary cholesterol by hepatocytes and that ezetimibe disrupts hepatic function of NPC1L1. To test this hypothesis, transgenic mice expressing human NPC1L1 in hepatocytes (L1-Tg mice) were created. Hepatic overexpression of NPC1L1 resulted in a 10- to 20-fold decrease in biliary cholesterol concentration, but not phospholipid and bile acid concentrations. This decrease was associated with a 30%-60% increase in plasma cholesterol, mainly because of the accumulation of apoE-rich HDL. Biliary and plasma cholesterol concentrations in these animals were virtually returned to normal with ezetimibe treatment. These findings suggest that in humans, ezetimibe may reduce plasma cholesterol by inhibiting NPC1L1 function in both intestine and liver, and hepatic NPC1L1 may have evolved to protect the body from excessive biliary loss of cholesterol.
Project description:Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 protein (NPC1L1), a transporter crucial in intestinal cholesterol absorption, is expressed in human liver but not in murine liver. To elucidate the role of hepatic NPC1L1 on lipid metabolism, we overexpressed NPC1L1 in murine liver utilizing adenovirus-mediated gene transfer. C57BL/6 mice, fed on normal chow with or without ezetimibe, were injected with NPC1L1 adenovirus (L1-mice) or control virus (Null-mice), and lipid analyses were performed five days after the injection. The plasma cholesterol levels increased in L1-mice, and FPLC analyses revealed increased cholesterol contents in large HDL lipoprotein fractions. These fractions, which showed ?-mobility on agarose electrophoresis, were rich in apoE and free cholesterol. These lipoprotein changes were partially inhibited by ezetimibe treatment and were not observed in apoE-deficient mice. In addition, plasma and VLDL triglyceride (TG) levels decreased in L1-mice. The expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) was markedly decreased in L1-mice, accompanied by the reduced protein levels of forkhead box protein O1 (FoxO1). These changes were not observed in mice with increased hepatic de novo cholesterol synthesis. These data demonstrate that cholesterol absorbed through NPC1L1 plays a distinct role in cellular and plasma lipid metabolism, such as the appearance of apoE-rich lipoproteins and the diminished VLDL-TG secretion.
Project description:Recent accumulating evidence suggests that innate immunity is associated with obesity-induced chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders. Here, we show that a Toll-like receptor (TLR) protein, radioprotective 105 (RP105)/myeloid differentiation protein (MD)-1 complex, contributes to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity, adipose tissue inflammation, and insulin resistance. An HFD dramatically increased RP105 mRNA and protein expression in stromal vascular fraction of epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) in wild-type (WT) mice. RP105 mRNA expression also was significantly increased in the visceral adipose tissue of obese human subjects relative to nonobese subjects. The RP105/MD-1 complex was expressed by most adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs). An HFD increased RP105/MD-1 expression on the M1 subset of ATMs that accumulate in eWAT. Macrophages also acquired this characteristic in coculture with 3T3-L1 adipocytes. RP105 knockout (KO) and MD-1 KO mice had less HFD-induced adipose tissue inflammation, hepatic steatosis, and insulin resistance compared with wild-type (WT) and TLR4 KO mice. Finally, the saturated fatty acids, palmitic and stearic acids, are endogenous ligands for TLR4, but they did not activate RP105/MD-1. Thus, the RP105/MD-1 complex is a major mediator of adipose tissue inflammation independent of TLR4 signaling and may represent a novel therapeutic target for obesity-associated metabolic disorders.
Project description:In this study, we explored the effects of Bax Inhibitor-1 (BI-1) on ApoB aggregation in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced hepatic lipid accumulation. After 1 week on a HFD, triglycerides and cholesterol accumulated more in the liver and were not effectively secreted into the plasma, whereas after 8 weeks, lipids were highly accumulated in both the liver and plasma, with a greater effect in BI-1 KO mice compared with BI-1 WT mice. ApoB, a lipid transfer protein, was accumulated to a greater extent in the livers of HFD-BI-1 KO mice compared with HFD-BI-1 WT mice. Excessive post-translational oxidation of protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), intra-ER ROS accumulation and folding capacitance alteration were also observed in HFD-BI-1 KO mice. Higher levels of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress were consistently observed in KO mice compared with the WT mice. Adenovirus-mediated hepatic expression of BI-1 in the BI-1 KO mice rescued the above phenotypes. Our results suggest that BI-1-mediated enhancement of ApoB secretion regulates hepatic lipid accumulation, likely through regulation of ER stress and ROS accumulation.