Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) prevails in obesity and is linked to several health complications including dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis. How exactly NAFLD induces atherogenic dyslipidemia to promote cardiovascular diseases is still elusive. Here, we identify Tsukushi (TSK) as a hepatokine induced in response to NAFLD. We show that both endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammation promote the expression and release of TSK in mice. In humans, hepatic TSK expression is also associated with steatosis, and its circulating levels are markedly increased in patients suffering from acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure (ALF), a condition linked to severe hepatic inflammation. In these patients, elevated blood TSK levels were associated with decreased transplant-free survival at hospital discharge, suggesting that TSK could have a prognostic significance. Gain- and loss-of-function studies in mice revealed that TSK impacts systemic cholesterol homeostasis. TSK reduces circulating HDL cholesterol, lowers cholesterol efflux capacity, and decreases cholesterol-to–bile acid conversion in the liver. Our data identify the hepatokine TSK as a blood biomarker of liver stress that could link NAFLD to the development of atherogenic dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis.
Mathilde Mouchiroud, Étienne Camiré, Manal Aldow, Alexandre Caron, Éric Jubinville, Laurie Turcotte, Inès Kaci, Marie-Josée Beaulieu, Christian Roy, Sébastien M. Labbé, Thibault V. Varin, Yves Gélinas, Jennifer Lamothe, Jocelyn Trottier, Patricia L. Mitchell, Frédéric Guénard, William T. Festuccia, Philippe Joubert, Christopher F. Rose, Constantine J. Karvellas, Olivier Barbier, Mathieu C. Morissette, André Marette, Mathieu Laplante
Bile acids play a major role in the regulation of lipid and energy metabolism. Here we propose the hepatic bile acid uptake transporter Na+ taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP) as a target to prolong postprandial bile acid elevations in plasma. Reducing hepatic clearance of bile acids from plasma by genetic deletion of NTCP moderately increased plasma bile acid levels, reduced diet-induced obesity, attenuated hepatic steatosis, and lowered plasma cholesterol levels. NTCP-G protein-coupled bile acid receptor (TGR5) double knockout mice were equally protected against diet-induced-obesity as NTCP single knockout mice. NTCP knockout mice displayed decreased intestinal fat absorption and a trend towards higher fecal energy output. Furthermore, NTCP deficiency was associated with an increased uncoupled respiration in brown adipose tissue, leading to increased energy expenditure. We conclude that targeting NTCP-mediated bile acid uptake can be a novel approach to treat obesity and obesity-related hepatosteatosis by simultaneously dampening intestinal fat absorption and increasing energy expenditure.
Joanne M. Donkers, Sander Kooijman, Davor Slijepcevic, Roni F. Kunst, Reinout L.P. Roscam Abbing, Lizette C.J.M Haazen, Dirk R. de Waart, Johannes H.M. Levels, Kristina Schoonjans, Patrick C.N. Rensen, Ronald P.J. Oude Elferink, Stan F.J. Van de Graaf
Non-integrative AAV-mediated gene therapy in the liver is effective in adult patients, but faces limitations in pediatric settings due to episomal DNA loss during hepatocyte proliferation. Gene targeting is a promising approach by permanently modifying the genome. We previously rescued neonatal lethality in Crigler-Najjar mice by inserting a promoterless human uridine glucuronosyl transferase A1 (UGT1A1) cDNA in exon 14 of the albumin gene, without the use of nucleases. To increase recombination rate and therapeutic efficacy, here we used CRISPR/SaCas9. Neonatal mice were transduced with two AAVs: one expressing the SaCas9 and sgRNA, and one containing a promoterless cDNA flanked by albumin homology regions. Targeting efficiency increased ~26-fold with an eGFP reporter cDNA, reaching up to 24% of eGFP-positive hepatocytes. Next, we fully corrected the diseased phenotype of Crigler-Najjar mice by targeting the hUGT1A1 cDNA. Treated mice had normal plasma bilirubin up to 10 months after administration, hUGT1A1 protein levels were ~6-fold higher than in WT liver, with a 90-fold increase in recombination rate. Liver histology, inflammatory markers, and plasma albumin were normal in treated mice, with no off-targets in predicted sites. Thus, the improved efficacy and reassuring safety profile support the potential application of the proposed approach to other liver diseases.
Alessia De Caneva, Fabiola Porro, Giulia Bortolussi, Riccardo Sola, Michela Lisjak, Adi Barzel, Mauro Giacca, Mark A. Kay, Kristian Vlahoviček, Lorena Zentilin, Andrés F. Muro
Progression of fibrosis and the development of cirrhosis are responsible for the liver related morbidity and mortality associated with chronic liver diseases. There is currently a great unmet need for effective anti-fibrotic strategies. Stem cells play a central role in wound healing responses to restore liver homeostasis following injury. Here we tested the hypothesis that extracellular vesicles (EVs) isolated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) modulate hepatic stellate cell (HSCs) activation and may have anti-fibrotic effects. Human iPSCs were generated by reprogramming primary skin fibroblasts. EVs were isolated by differential centrifugation, quantified by flow cytometry (FACS) and characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and electron microscopy (TEM). Primary human HSCs were activated with TGFβ (10 ng/mL) and exposed to iPSC-EVs. Efficacy of iPSC-EVs was tested on HSC in vitro and in two murine models of liver injury (CCl4 and bile duct ligation). Characterization of iPSC-derived EVs by flow cytometry identified a large population of EVs released by iPSC, primarily with a diameter of 300 nm and that could be visualized by TEM as round, cup-shaped objects. Fluorescent tracing assays detected iPSC-EVs in HSC cytosol after a short incubation and EV uptake by HSCs resulted in both decrease of pro-fibrogenic markers αSMA, CollagenIα1, Fibronectin and TIMP-1 and HSC pro-fibrogenic responses such as chemotaxis and proliferation. Genomics analyses of iPSC-EV miRNA cargo revealed 22 highly expressed miRNAs, among which miR-92a-3p resulted the most abundant. Transcriptome analysis identified 60 genes down-modulated and 235 up-regulated in TGF-β-primed HSC in presence or absence of iPSC-EVs. Intravenous injection of iPSC-EVs in CCl4 and bile duct ligation-induced liver fibrosis resulted in anti-fibrotic effects at protein and gene levels. Results of this study identify iPSC-EVs as a novel anti-fibrotic approach that may reduce or reverse liver fibrosis in patients with chronic liver disease.
Davide Povero, Eva M. Pinatel, Aleksandra Leszczynska, Nidhi P. Goyal, Takahiro Nishio, Jihoon Kim, David Kneiber, Lucas de Araujo Horcel, Akiko Eguchi, Paulina M. Ordonez, Tatiana Kisseleva, Ariel E. Feldstein
The evolutionary conserved Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein and SCAR homolog (WASH) complex is one of the crucial multiprotein complexes that facilitates endosomal recycling of transmembrane proteins. Defects in WASH components have been associated with inherited developmental and neurological disorders in humans. Here, we show that hepatic ablation of the WASH component Washc1 in chow-fed mice increases plasma concentrations of cholesterol in both LDLs and HDLs, without affecting hepatic cholesterol content, hepatic cholesterol synthesis, biliary cholesterol excretion, or hepatic bile acid metabolism. Elevated plasma LDL cholesterol was related to reduced hepatocytic surface levels of the LDL receptor (LDLR) and the LDLR-related protein LRP1. Hepatic WASH ablation also reduced the surface levels of scavenger receptor class B type I and, concomitantly, selective uptake of HDL cholesterol into the liver. Furthermore, we found that WASHC1 deficiency increases LDLR proteolysis by the inducible degrader of LDLR, but does not affect proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9–mediated LDLR degradation. Remarkably, however, loss of hepatic WASHC1 may sensitize LDLR for proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9–induced degradation. Altogether, these findings identify the WASH complex as a regulator of LDL as well as HDL metabolism and provide in vivo evidence for endosomal trafficking of scavenger receptor class B type I in hepatocytes.
Melinde Wijers, Paolo Zanoni, Nalan Liv, Dyonne Y. Vos, Michelle Y. Jäckstein, Marieke Smit, Sanne Wilbrink, Justina C. Wolters, Ydwine T. van der Veen, Nicolette Huijkman, Daphne Dekker, Niels Kloosterhuis, Theo H. van Dijk, Daniel D. Billadeau, Folkert Kuipers, Judith Klumperman, Arnold von Eckardstein, Jan Albert Kuivenhoven, Bart van de Sluis
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a highly prevalent, and potentially morbid, disease that affects one-third of the U.S. population. Normal liver safely accommodates lipid excess during fasting or carbohydrate restriction by increasing their oxidation to acetyl-CoA and ketones, yet lipid excess during NAFLD leads to hyperglycemia and, in some, steatohepatitis. To examine potential mechanisms, flux through pathways of hepatic oxidative metabolism and gluconeogenesis were studied using five simultaneous stable isotope tracers in ketotic (24-hour fast) individuals with a wide range of hepatic triglyceride contents (0-52%). Ketogenesis was progressively impaired as hepatic steatosis and glycemia worsened. Conversely, the alternative pathway for acetyl-CoA metabolism, oxidation in the tricarboxylic (TCA) cycle, was upregulated in NAFLD as ketone production diminished and positively correlated with rates of gluconeogenesis and plasma glucose concentrations. Increased respiration and energy generation that occurred in liver when β-oxidation and TCA cycle activity were coupled may explain these findings, inasmuch as oxygen consumption was higher during fatty liver and highly correlated with gluconeogenesis. These findings demonstrate that increased glucose production and hyperglycemia in NAFLD is not a consequence of acetyl-CoA production per se, but how acetyl-CoA is further metabolized in liver.
Justin A. Fletcher, Stanislaw Deja, Santhosh Satapati, Xiaorong Fu, Shawn C. Burgess, Jeffrey D. Browning
Pharmacologic inhibition of the renal sodium/glucose cotransporter-2 induces glycosuria and reduces glycemia. Given that SGLT2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) reduce mortality and cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes, improved understanding of molecular mechanisms mediating these metabolic effects is required. Treatment of obese but nondiabetic mice with the SGLT2i canagliflozin (CANA) reduces adiposity, improves glucose tolerance despite reduced plasma insulin, increases plasma ketones, and improves plasma lipid profiles. Utilizing an integrated transcriptomic-metabolomics approach, we demonstrate that CANA modulates key nutrient-sensing pathways, with activation of 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), independent of insulin or glucagon sensitivity or signaling. Moreover, CANA induces transcriptional reprogramming to activate catabolic pathways, increase fatty acid oxidation, reduce hepatic steatosis and diacylglycerol content, and increase hepatic and plasma levels of FGF21. Given that these phenotypes mirror the effects of FGF21 to promote lipid oxidation, ketogenesis, and reduction in adiposity, we hypothesized that FGF21 is required for CANA action. Using FGF21-null mice, we demonstrate that FGF21 is not required for SGLT2i-mediated induction of lipid oxidation and ketogenesis but is required for reduction in fat mass and activation of lipolysis. Taken together, these data demonstrate that SGLT2 inhibition triggers a fasting-like transcriptional and metabolic paradigm but requires FGF21 for reduction in adiposity.
Soravis Osataphan, Chiara Macchi, Garima Singhal, Jeremy Chimene-Weiss, Vicencia Sales, Chisayo Kozuka, Jonathan M. Dreyfuss, Hui Pan, Yanin Tangcharoenpaisan, Jordan Morningstar, Robert Gerszten, Mary-Elizabeth Patti
Liver cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality and is distinguished by a relative paucity of chemotherapy options. It has been hypothesized that intratumor genetic heterogeneity may contribute to the high failure rate of chemotherapy. Here, we evaluated functional heterogeneity in a cohort of primary human liver cancer organoid lines. Each primary human liver cancer surgical specimen was used to generate multiple cancer organoid lines, obtained from distinct regions of the tumor. A total of 27 liver cancer lines were established and tested with 129 cancer drugs, generating 3,483 cell survival data points. We found a rich intratumor, functional (drug response) heterogeneity in our liver cancer patients. Furthermore, we established that the majority of drugs were either ineffective, or effective only in select organoid lines. In contrast, we found that a subset of drugs appeared pan-effective, displaying at least moderate activity in the majority of these cancer organoid lines. These drugs, which are FDA approved for indications other than liver cancers, deserve further consideration as either systemic or local therapeutics. Of note, molecular profiles, obtained for a reduced sample set, did not correlate with the drug response heterogeneity of liver cancer organoid lines. Taken together, these findings lay the foundation for in-depth studies of pan-effective drugs, as well as for functional personalized oncology approaches. Lastly, these functional studies demonstrate the utility of cancer organoid drug testing as part of a drug discovery pipeline.
Ling Li, Hildur Knutsdottir, Ken Hui, Matthew J. Weiss, Jin He, Benjamin Philosophe, Andrew M. Cameron, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Timothy M. Pawlik, Gabriel Ghiaur, Andrew J. Ewald, Esteban Mezey, Joel S. Bader, Florin M. Selaru
Obese individuals are often at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular diseases such as angina, thereby requiring combination therapies for their comorbidities. Ranolazine is a second-line antianginal agent that also improves glycemia, and our aim was to determine whether ranolazine modifies the progression of obesity-induced NAFLD. Twelve-week-old C57BL/6J male mice were fed a low-fat or high-fat diet for 10 weeks and then treated for 30 days with either vehicle control or ranolazine (50 mg/kg via daily s.c. injection). Glycemia was monitored via glucose/pyruvate/insulin tolerance testing, whereas in vivo metabolism was assessed via indirect calorimetry. Hepatic triacylglycerol content was quantified via the Bligh and Dyer method. Consistent with previous reports, ranolazine treatment reversed obesity-induced glucose intolerance, which was associated with reduced body weight and hepatic steatosis, as well as increased hepatic pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity. Ranolazine’s actions on hepatic PDH activity may be directly mediated, as ranolazine treatment reduced PDH phosphorylation (indicative of increased PDH activity) in HepG2 cells. Therefore, in addition to mitigating angina, ranolazine also reverses NAFLD, which may contribute to its documented glucose-lowering actions, situating ranolazine as an ideal antianginal therapy for obese patients comorbid for NAFLD and T2D.
Rami Al Batran, Keshav Gopal, Hanin Aburasayn, Amina Eshreif, Malak Almutairi, Amanda A. Greenwell, Scott A. Campbell, Bruno Saleme, Emily A. Court, Farah Eaton, Peter E. Light, Gopinath Sutendra, John R. Ussher
IQ motif–containing GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) is a ubiquitously expressed scaffolding protein that integrates multiple cellular processes, including motility, adhesion, and proliferation, but its role in metabolism is unknown. Here, we show that IQGAP1 is induced upon fasting and regulates β-oxidation of fatty acids and synthesis of ketone bodies in the liver. IQGAP1-null (Iqgap1–/–) mice exhibit reduced hepatic PPARα transcriptional activity, as evidenced during fasting, after ketogenic diet, and upon pharmacological activation. Conversely, we found that the activity of fed-state sensor mTORC1 is enhanced in Iqgap1–/– livers, but acute inhibition of mTOR in Iqgap1–/– mice was unable to rescue the defect in ketone body synthesis. However, reexpressing IQGAP1 in the livers of Iqgap1–/– mice was sufficient to promote ketone body synthesis, increase PPARα signaling, and suppress mTORC1 activity. Taken together, we uncover what we believe to be a previously unidentified role for IQGAP1 in regulating PPARα activity and ketogenesis.
Hanna L. Erickson, Sayeepriyadarshini Anakk
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