MTOR Activation in Liver Tumors Is Associated with Metabolic Syndrome and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis in Both Mouse Models and Humans.
ABSTRACT: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can cause liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, with final progression to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in some cases. Various factors have been suggested to be involved in the development of NASH. Considering the many possible contributing factors, we postulated that mechanisms of progression from NASH to HCC could differ depending on the risk factors. In the present study, we applied two mouse models of NASH?HCC and performed histopathological and proteome analyses of mouse liver tumors. Furthermore, to compare the mechanisms of NASH?HCC progression in mice and humans, we investigated HCCs in humans with a background of metabolic syndrome and NASH, as well as HCCs associated with hepatitis virus infection by immunohistochemistry. It was demonstrated that upstream regulators associated with the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway were altered in liver tumors of mice with metabolic syndrome characteristics (TSOD mice) using proteome analysis. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that mTOR was characteristically phosphorylated in liver tumors of TSOD mice and HCCs from metabolic syndrome cases in humans. These results indicated that the mTOR pathway is characteristically activated in liver tumors with metabolic syndrome and NASH, unlike liver tumors with other etiologies.
Project description:To uncover mechanisms and explore novel biomarkers of obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-associated hepatocarcinogenesis, cellular and molecular alterations in the liver, and hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) were investigated in NASH model 60-week-old Tsumura, Suzuki, Obese Diabetic (TSOD) mice and NASH HCC patients. Markedly elevated lipid deposition, inflammation, fibrosis, and peroxisome proliferation in the liver, preneoplastic lesions, and HCCs of TSOD mice were accompanied by accumulation of polysaccharides in the cellular cytoplasm and nuclei and increase of oxidative DNA damage marker, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) formation in the liver and altered foci. Metabolomics of TSOD mice HCCs demonstrated significant elevation of the concentration of amino acid L-arginine, phosphocreatine, S-adenosylmethionine/S-adenosylhomocysteine ratio, adenylate, and guanylate energy charges in coordination with tremendous rise of glucose metabolites, mostly fructose 1,6-diphosphate. L-arginine accumulation in HCCs was associated with significant under-expression of arginase 1 (ARG1), suppression of the urea cycle, methionine and putrescine degradation pathways, activation of Ser and Thr kinase Akt AKT, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) kinases, ?-catenin, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and cell proliferation. Furthermore, clinicopathological analysis in 20 metabolic syndrome/NASH and 80 HCV-positive HCC patients demonstrated significant correlation of negative ARG1 expression with poor tumor differentiation, higher pathological stage, and significant decrease of survival in metabolic syndrome/NASH-associated HCC patients, thus indicating that ARG1 could become a potential marker for NASH HCC. From these results, formation of oxidative stress and 8-OHdG in the DNA and elevation of glucose metabolites and L-arginine due to ARG1 suppression in mice liver cells are the important characteristics of T2DM/NASH-associated hepatocarcinogenesis, which may take part in activating oxidative stress resistance, synthesis of phosphocreatine, cell signaling, methylation, and proliferation.
Project description:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has emerged as a common cause of chronic liver disease and virus-independent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. To reveal the molecular mechanism underlying hepatocarcinogenesis from NASH, microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles were analyzed in STAM mice, a NASH-HCC animal model. MicroRNA expression was also examined in 42 clinical samples of HCC tissue. Histopathological images of the liver of STAM mice at the ages of 6, 8, 12, and 18 weeks showed findings compatible with fatty liver, NASH, liver cirrhosis (LC), and HCC, respectively. Expression of miR-122 in non-tumor LC at the age of 18 weeks was significantly lower than that in LC at the age of 12 weeks. Expression of miR-122 was further decreased in HCCs relative to non-tumor LC at the age of 18 weeks. Expression of miR-122 was also decreased in clinical samples of liver tissue showing macrovesicular steatosis and HCC, being consistent with the findings in the NASH model mice. DNA methylation analysis revealed that silencing of miR-122 was not mediated by DNA hypermethylation of the promoter region. These results suggest that silencing of miR-122 is an early event during hepatocarcinogenesis from NASH, and that miR-122 could be a novel molecular marker for evaluating the risk of HCC in patients with NASH.
Project description:The underlining mechanisms of dietary cholesterol and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in contributing to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain undefined. Here we demonstrated that high-fat-non-cholesterol-fed mice developed simple steatosis, whilst high-fat-high-cholesterol-fed mice developed NASH. Moreover, dietary cholesterol induced larger and more numerous NASH-HCCs than non-cholesterol-induced steatosis-HCCs in diethylnitrosamine-treated mice. NASH-HCCs displayed significantly more aberrant gene expression-enriched signaling pathways and more non-synonymous somatic mutations than steatosis-HCCs (335?±?84/sample vs 43?±?13/sample). Integrated genetic and expressional alterations in NASH-HCCs affected distinct genes pertinent to five pathways: calcium, insulin, cell adhesion, axon guidance and metabolism. Some of the novel aberrant gene expression, mutations and core oncogenic pathways identified in cholesterol-associated NASH-HCCs in mice were confirmed in human NASH-HCCs, which included metabolism-related genes (ALDH18A1, CAD, CHKA, POLD4, PSPH and SQLE) and recurrently mutated genes (RYR1, MTOR, SDK1, CACNA1H and RYR2). These findings add insights into the link of cholesterol to NASH and NASH-HCC and provide potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide, with approximately 70% of cases resulting from hepatitis B and C viral infections, aflatoxin exposure, chronic alcohol use or genetic liver diseases. The remaining approximately 30% of cases are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic diseases, although a direct link between these pathologies and HCCs has not been established. We tested the long-term effects of high-fat and low-fat diets on males of two inbred strains of mice and discovered that C57BL/6J but not A/J males were susceptible to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and HCC on a high-fat but not low-fat diet. This strain-diet interaction represents an important model for genetically controlled, diet-induced HCC. Susceptible mice showed morphological characteristics of NASH (steatosis, hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis), dysplasia and HCC. mRNA profiles of HCCs versus tumor-free liver showed involvement of two signaling networks, one centered on Myc and the other on NFkappaB, similar to signaling described for the two major classes of HCC in humans. miRNA profiles revealed dramatically increased expression of a cluster of miRNAs on the X chromosome without amplification of the chromosomal segment. A switch from high-fat to low-fat diet reversed these outcomes, with switched C57BL/6J males being lean rather than obese and without evidence for NASH or HCCs at the end of the study. A similar diet modification may have important implications for prevention of HCCs in humans.
Project description:A mass spectrometric analysis platform has been developed to determine whether glycosylation patterns of alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP) could be used as a marker for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in different etiologies, i.e. non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), alcoholic liver disease (ALC), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). MALDI-MS profiling of N-glycans of AGP purified from 20 μL of patient serum in HCC (n = 72) and liver cirrhosis (n = 58) showed that a unique trifucosylated tetra-antennary glycan (m/z 3490.76) was predominantly identified in HCCs but was absent in healthy subjects and the majority of cirrhosis patients. Receiver operation characteristic (ROC) curve analysis showed that the trifucosylated N-glycan of AGP (triFc_AGP) could differentiate HCC from cirrhosis with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.707, 0.726 and 0.751 for NASH, ALC and HCV, respectively. When combining triFc_AGP with INR and AFP, the panel had the greatest benefit in detection of NASH-related HCCs, with a significantly improved AUC of 0.882 for all NASH HCCs and 0.818 for early NASH HCCs compared to AFP alone (0.761 and 0.641, respectively). Moreover, triFc_AGP could serve as a potential marker for monitoring AFP-negative HCC patients.
Project description:Senescence secretome was recently reported to promote liver cancer in an obese mouse model. Steatohepatitic hepatocellular carcinoma (SH-HCC), a new variant of HCC, has been found in metabolic syndrome patients, and pericellular fibrosis, a characteristic feature of SH-HCC, suggests that alteration of the tumor stroma might play an important role in SH-HCC development. Clinicopathological characteristics and tumor stroma showing senescence and senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) were investigated in 21 SH-HCCs and 34 conventional HCCs (C-HCCs). The expression of ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA), p21Waf1/Cif1, ?-H2AX, and IL-6 was investigated by immunohistochemistry or immunofluorescence. SH-HCCs were associated with older age, higher body mass index, and a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome, compared to C-HCC (P <0.05, all). The numbers of ?-SMA-positive cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) (P = 0.049) and ?-SMA-positive CAFs co-expressing p21Waf1/Cif1 (P = 0.038), ?-H2AX (P = 0.065), and IL-6 (P = 0.048) were greater for SH-HCCs than C-HCCs. Additionally, non-tumoral liver from SH-HCCs showed a higher incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a higher number of ?-SMA-positive stellate cells expressing ?-H2AX and p21Waf1/Cif1 than that from C-HCCs (P <0.05, all). In conclusion, SH-HCCs are considered to occur more frequently in metabolic syndrome patients. Therein, senescent and damaged CAFs, as well as non-tumoral stellate cells, expressing SASP including IL-6 may contribute to the development of SH-HCC.
Project description:Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a common hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome and can lead to hepatic cirrhosis and cancer. It is considered that NASH is caused by multiple parallel events, including abnormal lipid metabolism, gut-derived-endotoxin-induced inflammation, and adipocytokines derived from adipose tissue, suggesting that other tissues are involved in NASH development. Previous studies demonstrated that spleen enlargement is observed during the course of NASH pathogenesis. However, the involvement of splenic status in the progression of NASH remains unclear. In this study, we examined hepatic and splenic histopathological findings in the early stage of NASH using the Tsumura Suzuki Obese Diabetes (TSOD) mouse model established for assessing NASH. We found that 12-week-old TSOD mice clearly exhibited the histopathological features of NASH in the early stage. At this age, the spleen of TSOD mice showed markedly higher iron level than that of control Tsumura Suzuki Non Obesity (TSNO) mice. The level of accumulated iron was significantly decreased by feeding a diet with glucosyl hesperidin, a bioactive flavonoid, accompanied with alleviation of hepatic lesions. Furthermore, we found that splenic iron level was positively correlated with the severity of NASH manifestations, suggesting that abnormalities in the spleen are involved in the development of NASH.
Project description:The incidence of metabolic syndrome with fatty liver is spreading on a worldwide scale. Correspondingly, the number of patients with the hepatic phenotype of metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and in its advanced states, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and the subsequent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) derived from NASH (NASH-HCC) is increasing remarkably. A large-scale epidemiological study revealed that obesity can be a risk factor of such cancers as HCC. Moreover, despite the ongoing trends of declining cancer incidence and mortality for most cancer types, HCC has experienced a markedly increased rate of both. Considering the differences in liver-related mortality among NAFLD patients, NASH, and NASH-HCC should be included in the objectives of initiatives to manage NAFLD patients and their progression to the advanced stages. Unfortunately, research has yet to make a crucial drug discovery for the effective treatment of NASH and NASH-HCC, although it is urgently needed. The latest widespread concept of the "multiple parallel hits hypothesis," whereby multiple factors contribute concurrently to disease pathogenesis has led to advances in the elucidation of hepatic and systemic molecular mechanisms driving NASH and the subsequent NASH-HCC progression; the results are not only extensive but promising for therapeutics. Here, we have summarized the myriad landmark discoveries of recent research into the pathogenic processes underlying NASH-HCC development and with the greatest possibility for a new generation of pharmaceutical products for interference and treatment.
Project description:Gut microbiota plays a significant role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). However, understanding of the precise mechanism of this process remains incomplete. A new class steatohepatitis-inducing high-fat diet (HFD), namely STHD-01, can promote the development of HCC without the administration of chemical carcinogens. Using this diet, we comprehensively analyzed changes in the gut microbiota and its metabolic functions during the development of HCC in NASH. Mice fed the STHD-01 developed NASH within 9 weeks. NASH further progressed into HCC by 41 weeks. Treatment with antibiotics significantly attenuated liver pathology and suppressed tumor development, indicating the critical role of the gut microbiota in tumor development in this model. Accumulation of cholesterol and bile acids in the liver and feces increased after feeding the mice with STHD-01. Treatment with antibiotics did not reverse these phenotypes. In contrast, accumulation of secondary bile acids was dramatically reduced after the treatment with antibiotics, suggesting the critical role of the gut microbiota in the conversion of primary bile acids to secondary bile acids. Secondary bile acids such as deoxycholic acid activated the mTOR, pathway in hepatocytes. Activation of mTOR was observed in the liver of mice fed STHD-01, and the activation was reduced when mice were treated with antibiotics. Collectively, bile acid metabolism by the gut microbiota promotes HCC development in STHD-01-induced NASH.
Project description:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and steatohepatitis (NASH) are liver manifestations of the metabolic syndrome and can progress to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Loss of Growth Hormone (GH) signaling is reported to predispose to NAFLD and NASH through direct actions on the liver. Here, we report that aged mice lacking hepatocyte Jak2 (JAK2L), an obligate transducer of Growth Hormone (GH) signaling, spontaneously develop the full spectrum of phenotypes found in patients with metabolic liver disease, beginning with insulin resistance and lipodystrophy and manifesting as NAFLD, NASH and even HCC, independent of dietary intervention. Remarkably, insulin resistance, metabolic liver disease, and carcinogenesis are prevented in JAK2L mice via concomitant deletion of adipocyte Jak2 (JAK2LA). Further, we demonstrate that GH increases hepatic lipid burden but does so indirectly via signaling through adipocyte JAK2. Collectively, these data establish adipocytes as the mediator of GH-induced metabolic liver disease and carcinogenesis. In addition, we report a new spontaneous model of NAFLD, NASH, and HCC that recapitulates the natural sequelae of human insulin resistance-associated disease progression. The work presented here suggests a attention be paid towards inhibition of adipocyte GH signaling as a therapeutic target of metabolic liver disease.