Docosahexaenoic acid attenuates Western diet-induced hepatic fibrosis in Ldlr-/- mice by targeting the TGF?-Smad3 pathway.
ABSTRACT: DHA (22:6,?3), but not EPA (20:5,?3), attenuates Western diet (WD)-induced hepatic fibrosis in a Ldlr(-/-) mouse model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. We examined the molecular basis for the differential effect of dietary EPA and DHA on WD-induced hepatic fibrosis. DHA was more effective than EPA at preventing WD-induced effects on hepatic transcripts linked to fibrosis, including collagen 1A1 (Col1A1), transforming growth factor-? (TGF?) signaling and proteins involved in remodeling the extracellular matrix, including metalloproteases, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteases, and lysyl oxidase subtypes. Examination of the TGF? pathway showed that mice fed the WD supplemented with either olive oil or EPA had a significant (?2.5-fold) increase in hepatic nuclear abundance of phospho-mothers against decapentaplegic homolog (Smad)3 when compared with mice fed the reference diet (RD); Smad3 is a key regulator of Col1A1 expression in stellate cells. In contrast, mice fed the WD supplemented with DHA had no increase in phospho-Smad3 when compared with mice fed the RD. Changes in hepatic phospho-Smad3 nuclear content correlated with proCol1A1 mRNA and protein abundance. Pretreatment of human LX2 stellate cells with DHA, but not other unsaturated fatty acids, blocked TGF?1-mediated induction of Col1A1. In conclusion, DHA attenuates WD-induced fibrosis by targeting the TGF?-Smad3-Col1A1 pathway in stellate cells.
Project description:The incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has increased in parallel with the incidence of obesity. While both NAFLD and NASH are characterized by hepatosteatosis, NASH is characterized by hepatic damage, inflammation, oxidative stress, and fibrosis. We previously reported that feeding Ldlr(-/-) mice a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet containing menhaden oil attenuated several markers of NASH, including hepatosteatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. Herein, we test the hypothesis that DHA [22:6 (n-3)] is more effective than EPA [20:5 (n-3)] at preventing Western diet (WD)-induced NASH in Ldlr(-/-) mice. Mice were fed the WD supplemented with either olive oil (OO), EPA, DHA, or EPA + DHA for 16 wk. WD + OO feeding induced a severe NASH phenotype, characterized by robust hepatosteatosis, inflammation, oxidative stress, and fibrosis. Whereas none of the C20-22 (n-3) fatty acid treatments prevented WD-induced hepatosteatosis, all 3 (n-3) PUFA-containing diets significantly attenuated WD-induced inflammation, fibrosis, and hepatic damage. The capacity of dietary DHA to suppress hepatic markers of inflammation (Clec4F, F4/80, Trl4, Trl9, CD14, Myd88), fibrosis (Procol1?1, Tgf?1), and oxidative stress (NADPH oxidase subunits Nox2, p22phox, p40phox, p47phox, p67phox) was significantly greater than dietary EPA. The effects of DHA on these markers paralleled DHA-mediated suppression of hepatic Fads1 mRNA abundance and hepatic arachidonic acid content. Because DHA suppression of NASH markers does not require a reduction in hepatosteatosis, dietary DHA may be useful in combating NASH in obese humans.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major public health concern in western societies. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the progressive form of NAFLD, is characterized by hepatic steatosis, inflammation, oxidative stress and fibrosis. NASH is a risk factor for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. NASH is predicted to be the leading cause of liver transplants by 2020. Despite this growing public health concern, there remain no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved NASH treatments. Using Ldlr -/- mice as a preclinical model of western diet (WD)-induced NASH, we previously established that dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6,?3) attenuated WD-induced NASH in a prevention study. Herein, we evaluated the capacity of DHA supplementation of the WD and a low fat diet to fully reverse NASH in mice with pre-existing disease.<h4>Methods</h4>Ldlr -/- mice fed the WD for 22 wks developed metabolic syndrome (MetS) and a severe NASH phenotype, including obesity, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, hepatic steatosis, inflammation, fibrosis and low hepatic polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content. These mice were randomized to 5 groups: a baseline group (WDB, sacrificed at 22 wks) and 4 treatments: 1) WD + olive oil (WDO); 2) WD + DHA (WDD); 3) returned to chow + olive oil (WDChO); or 4) returned to chow + DHA (WDChD). The four treatment groups were maintained on their respective diets for 8 wks. An additional group was maintained on standard laboratory chow (Reference Diet, RD) for the 30-wk duration of the study.<h4>Results</h4>When compared to the WDB group, the WDO group displayed increased hepatic expression of genes linked to inflammation (Opn, Il1rn, Gdf15), hepatic fibrosis (collagen staining, Col1A1, Thbs2, Lox) reflecting disease progression. Mice in the WDD group, in contrast, had increased hepatic C20-22 ?3 PUFA and no evidence of NASH progression. MetS and NASH markers in the WDChO or WDChD groups were significantly attenuated and marginally different from the RD group, reflecting disease remission.<h4>Conclusion</h4>While these studies establish that DHA supplementation of the WD blocks WD-induced NASH progression, DHA alone does not promote full remission of diet-induced MetS or NASH.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a progressive form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and a risk factor for cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure. Previously, we reported that dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6,n-3) was more effective than eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5,n-3) at reversing western diet (WD) induced NASH in LDLR(-/-) mice.<h4>Methods</h4>Using livers from our previous study, we carried out a global non-targeted metabolomic approach to quantify diet-induced changes in hepatic metabolism.<h4>Results</h4>Livers from WD + olive oil (WD + O)-fed mice displayed histological and gene expression features consistent with NASH. The metabolomic analysis of 320 metabolites established that the WD and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation had broad effects on all major metabolic pathways. Livers from WD + O-fed mice were enriched in saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), palmitoyl-sphingomyelin, cholesterol, n-6 PUFA, n-6 PUFA-containing phosphoglycerolipids, n-6 PUFA-derived oxidized lipids (12-HETE) and depleted of C20-22 n-3 PUFA-containing phosphoglycerolipids, C20-22 n-3 PUFA-derived oxidized lipids (18-HEPE, 17,18-DiHETE) and S-lactoylglutathione, a methylglyoxal detoxification product. WD + DHA was more effective than WD + EPA at attenuating WD + O-induced changes in NASH gene expression markers, n-6 PUFA and oxidized lipids, citrate and S-lactosyl glutathione. Diet-induced changes in hepatic MUFA and sphingolipid content were associated with changes in expression of enzymes involved in MUFA and sphingolipid synthesis. Changes in hepatic oxidized fatty acids and S-lactoylglutathione, however, correlated with hepatic n-3 and n-6 C20-22 PUFA content. Hepatic C20-22 n-3 PUFA content was inversely associated with hepatic ?-tocopherol and ascorbate content and positively associated with urinary F2- and F3-isoprostanes, revealing diet effects on whole body oxidative stress.<h4>Conclusion</h4>DHA regulation of hepatic SFA, MUFA, PUFA, sphingomyelin, PUFA-derived oxidized lipids and S-lactoylglutathione may explain the protective effects of DHA against WD-induced NASH in LDLR(-/-) mice.
Project description:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome, can progress to steatohepatitis (NASH) and advanced liver damage, such as that from liver cirrhosis and cancer. Recent studies have shown the benefits of consuming n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the treatment of NAFLD. In the present study, we investigated and compared the effects of the major n-3 PUFAs-eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6)-in preventing atherogenic high-fat (AHF) diet-induced NAFLD. Mice were fed the AHF diet supplemented with or without EPA or DHA for four weeks. Both EPA and DHA reduced the pathological features of AHF diet-induced NASH pathologies such as hepatic lobular inflammation and elevated serum transaminase activity. Intriguingly, EPA had a greater hepatic triacylglycerol (TG)-reducing effect than DHA. In contrast, DHA had a greater suppressive effect than EPA on AHF diet-induced hepatic inflammation and ROS generation, but no difference in fibrosis. Both EPA and DHA could be effective for treatment of NAFLD and NASH. Meanwhile, the two major n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids might differ in a relative contribution to pathological intermediate steps towards liver fibrosis.
Project description:Hepatic steatosis, an early stage of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is commonly present in obesity and type 2 diabetes, and is associated with reduced hepatic omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n3-PUFA) status that impacts on the anti-inflammatory and insulin sensitizing functions of n3-PUFA. Our objective was to directly compare plant- and marine-based n3-PUFA (?-linoleic acid (ALA)), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) for their effects on hepatic steatosis, markers of hepatic inflammation and fibrosis, and insulinemia in obese rats. Fa/fa Zucker rats were provided diets containing ALA, EPA, DHA, or linoleic acid (LA, n6-PUFA) for eight weeks and compared to baseline fa/fa rats and lean Zucker rats fed LA-rich diet for eight weeks. Both DHA and EPA groups had liver lipid similar to baseline, however, DHA was more effective than EPA for reducing hepatic fatty acid synthase (FAS), increasing the proportion of smaller lipid droplets, reversing early fibrotic damage, and reducing fasting hyperinsulinemia. EPA was more effective for reducing FoxO1. Dietary ALA did not attenuate hepatic steatosis, most inflammatory markers or FAS. In summary, amongst the n3-PUFA, DHA was the most effective for elevating hepatic DHA levels, and preventing progression of hepatic steatosis via reductions in FAS and a marker of fibrosis.
Project description:Liver fibrosis is a reversible wound-healing response involving TGF?1/SMAD activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). It results from excessive deposition of extracellular matrix components and can lead to impairment of liver function. Here, we show that vitamin D receptor (VDR) ligands inhibit HSC activation by TGF?1 and abrogate liver fibrosis, whereas Vdr knockout mice spontaneously develop hepatic fibrosis. Mechanistically, we show that TGF?1 signaling causes a redistribution of genome-wide VDR-binding sites (VDR cistrome) in HSCs and facilitates VDR binding at SMAD3 profibrotic target genes via TGF?1-dependent chromatin remodeling. In the presence of VDR ligands, VDR binding to the coregulated genes reduces SMAD3 occupancy at these sites, inhibiting fibrosis. These results reveal an intersecting VDR/SMAD genomic circuit that regulates hepatic fibrogenesis and define a role for VDR as an endocrine checkpoint to modulate the wound-healing response in liver. Furthermore, the findings suggest VDR ligands as a potential therapy for liver fibrosis.
Project description:<h4>Background and purpose</h4>Chronic hepatic inflammation results in liver fibrosis. As effective anti-fibrogenic agents are lacking, we investigated ursodeoxycholyl lysophosphatidylethanolamide (UDCA-LPE), a synthetic bile acid-phospholipid conjugate with anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties for tis effects on hepatic fibrogenesis.<h4>Experimental approach</h4>To stimulate fibrogenesis, LX2 hepatic stellate cells were cultured with conditioned medium from CL48 liver cells after exposure to stress-inducing conditions - methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) medium or TNF?/cycloheximide (CHX) - with or without UDCA-LPE preincubation. Anti-fibrogenic effects of UDCA-LPE were further studied in CL48 and LX2 cells and in primary human hepatic stellate cells (HHStec) directly exposed to TGF-?1. To test UDCA-LPE?in vivo, C57BL/6 mice were fed a MCD diet for 11 weeks followed by 30?mg·kg(-1) UDCA-LPE 3× per week for 2.5 weeks.<h4>Key results</h4>Expression of ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA), ?1-collagen, vimentin and TGF-?1 was down-regulated by up to 93% by UDCA-LPE in LX-2 cells cultured with conditioned medium. Also, UDCA-LPE inhibited Smad3 phosphorylation in CL48 cells incubated with MCD medium or TNF?/CHX and in LX2 cells exposed to conditioned medium. UDCA-LPE also decreased phosphorylated Smad3 and Smad2 directly induced by TGF-?1. Inhibition of TGF-?1/Smad2/3 signalling with down-regulation of target genes was confirmed in HHStec. In vivo, UDCA-LPE decreased hepatic ?-SMA, ?1-collagen and TGF-?1 expression and markedly lowered ?-SMA protein and collagen deposition in MCD mice.<h4>Conclusions and implications</h4>By blocking TGF-?1/Smad2/3 signalling, UDCA-LPE suppressed key mediators of hepatic fibrogenesis. Thus, UDCA-LPE could be suitable for prevention of fibrotic progression of chronic liver disease.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major public health burden in western societies. The progressive form of NAFLD, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), is characterized by hepatosteatosis, inflammation, oxidative stress, and hepatic damage that can progress to fibrosis and cirrhosis; risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma. Given the scope of NASH, validating treatment protocols (i.e., low fat diets and weight loss) is imperative.<h4>Methods</h4>We evaluated the efficacy of two diets, a non-purified chow (NP) and purified (low-fat low-cholesterol, LFLC) diet to reverse western diet (WD)-induced NASH and fibrosis in Ldlr-/- mice.<h4>Results</h4>Mice fed WD for 22-24 weeks developed robust hepatosteatosis with mild fibrosis, while mice maintained on the WD an additional 7-8 weeks developed NASH with moderate fibrosis. Returning WD-fed mice to the NP or LFLC diets significantly reduced body weight and plasma markers of metabolic syndrome (dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia) and hepatic gene expression markers of inflammation (Mcp1), oxidative stress (Nox2), fibrosis (Col1A, LoxL2, Timp1) and collagen crosslinking (hydroxyproline). Time course analyses established that plasma triglycerides and hepatic Col1A1 mRNA were rapidly reduced following the switch from the WD to the LFLC diet. However, hepatic triglyceride content and fibrosis did not return to normal levels 8 weeks after the change to the LFLC diet. Time course studies further revealed a strong association (r2 ≥ 0.52) between plasma markers of inflammation (TLR2 activators) and hepatic fibrosis markers (Col1A, Timp1, LoxL2). Inflammation and fibrosis markers were inversely associated (r2 ≥ 0.32) with diet-induced changes in hepatic ω3 and ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) content.<h4>Conclusion</h4>These studies establish a temporal link between plasma markers of inflammation and hepatic PUFA and fibrosis. Low-fat low-cholesterol diets promote reversal of many, but not all, features associated with WD-induced NASH and fibrosis in Ldlr-/- mice.
Project description:Hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation on liver injury facilitates fibrosis. Hepatokines affecting HSCs are largely unknown. Here we show that hepcidin inhibits HSC activation and ameliorates liver fibrosis. We observe that hepcidin levels are inversely correlated with exacerbation of fibrosis in patients, and also confirm the relationship in animal models. Adenoviral delivery of hepcidin to mice attenuates liver fibrosis induced by CCl4 treatment or bile duct ligation. In cell-based assays, either hepcidin from hepatocytes or exogenous hepcidin suppresses HSC activation by inhibiting TGF?1-mediated Smad3 phosphorylation via Akt. In activated HSCs, ferroportin is upregulated, which can be prevented by hepcidin treatment. Similarly, ferroportin knockdown in HSCs prohibits TGF?1-inducible Smad3 phosphorylation and increases Akt phosphorylation, whereas ferroportin over-expression has the opposite effect. HSC-specific ferroportin deletion also ameliorates liver fibrosis. In summary, hepcidin suppresses liver fibrosis by impeding TGF?1-induced Smad3 phosphorylation in HSCs, which depends on Akt activated by a deficiency of ferroportin.
Project description:Chronic liver injury leads to fibrosis and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis, the end stage of chronic liver disease, is a leading cause of death worldwide and increases the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently, there is a lack of effective antifibrotic therapies to treat fibrosis and cirrhosis. Development of antifibrotic therapies requires an in-depth understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in inflammation and fibrosis after hepatic injury. Two growth factor signaling pathways that regulate liver fibrosis are transforming growth factor-? (TGF?) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). However, their specific contributions to fibrogenesis are not well understood. Using a genetic model of liver fibrosis, we investigated whether the canonical TGF? signaling pathway was necessary for fibrogenesis. PDGF-C transgenic (PDGF-C Tg) mice were intercrossed with mice that lack Smad3, and molecular and histological fibrosis was analyzed. PDGF-C Tg mice that also lacked Smad3 had less fibrosis and improved liver lobule architecture. Loss of Smad3 also reduced expression of collagen genes, which were induced by PDGF-C, but not the expression of genes frequently associated with hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation. In vitro HSCs isolated from Smad3-null mice proliferated more slowly than cells from wild-type mice. Taken together, these findings indicate that PDGF-C activates TGF?/Smad3 signaling pathways to regulate HSC proliferation, collagen production and ultimately fibrosis. In summary, these results suggest that inhibition of both PDGF and TGF? signaling pathways may be required to effectively attenuate fibrogenesis in patients with chronic liver disease.