BACKGROUND: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a lipotoxic disorder, wherein proinflammatory lipids, such as ceramide and its derivative sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), contribute to macrophage-associated liver inflammation. For example, we have previously demonstrated a role for S1P in steatotic hepatocyte-derived S1P enriched extracellular vesicles in macrophage chemotaxis in vitro. Therefore, we hypothesized that FTY720, an S1P antagonist, would ameliorate NASH by inhibiting proinflammatory monocyte chemotaxis. METHODS: To test our hypothesis NASH was established in C57BL/6 male mice by feeding a diet high in fructose, saturated fat and cholesterol for 22 weeks. Then mice received daily intraperitoneal injections of FTY720 for 2 weeks prior to analysis of liver injury, inflammation, and fibrosis. RESULTS: FTY720-treated mice with NASH demonstrated improved liver histology with a significant reduction in hepatocyte ballooning and inflammatory foci. Hepatomegaly was reversed and liver triglycerides reduced following FTY720 administration to mice with NASH. Correspondingly, serum ALT levels, hepatic inflammatory macrophage accumulation, and expression of Ly6C expressing recruited myeloid cells was reduced in FTY720 treated mice. Hepatic collagen accumulation and expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin were significantly lowered as well. Body composition, energy consumption and utilization, and hepatic sphingolipid composition remained unchanged following FTY720 administration. CONCLUSIONS: FTY720 ameliorates murine nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Reduction in liver injury and inflammation is associated with a reduction in hepatic macrophage accumulation, likely due to dampened recruitment of circulating myeloid cells into the liver. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis may be a novel indication for the therapeutic use of FTY720.
- fatty liver
- Kupffer cells
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology