Background & Aims: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is characterized by hepatic lipid accumulation and inflammation. Currently, the underlying mechanisms, leading to hepatic inflammation, are still unknown. The breakdown of free cholesterol inside Kupffer cells (KCs) by the mitochondrial enzyme CYP27A1 produces 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC). We recently demonstrated that administration of 27HC to hyperlipidemic mice reduced hepatic inflammation. In line, hematopoietic deletion of Cyp27a1 resulted in increased hepatic inflammation. In the current manuscript, the effect of hematopoietic overexpression of Cyp27a1 on the development of NASH and cholesterol trafficking was investigated. We hypothesized that Cyp27a1 overexpression in KCs will lead to reduced hepatic inflammation.
Methods: Irradiated Ldlr(-/-) mice were transplanted (tp) with bone marrow from mice overexpressing Cyp27a1 (Cyp27a1(over)) and wild type (Wt) mice and fed either chow or a high-fat, high-cholesterol (HFC) diet for 3 months. Additionally, gene expression was assessed in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) from Cyp27a1(over) and Wt mice.
Results: In line with our hypothesis, hepatic inflammation in HFC-fed Cyp27a1(over)-tp mice was reduced and KCs were less foamy compared to Wt-tp mice. Remarkably, these changes occurred even though plasma and liver levels of 27HC did not differ between both groups. BMDM from Cyp27a1(over) mice revealed reduced inflammatory gene expression and increased expression of cholesterol transporters compared to Wt BMDM after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that overexpression of Cyp27a1 in KCs reduces hepatic inflammation independently of 27HC levels in plasma and liver, further pointing towards KCs as specific target for improving the therapy of NASH. (C) 2014 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Hepatic inflammation
- Kupffer cells
- ESTROGEN-RECEPTOR MODULATOR
- CHOLESTERYL ESTER
- TRANSGENIC EXPRESSION
- BONE HOMEOSTASIS