Roles of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and osteopontin in steatosis and aminotransferase release by hepatocytes treated with methionine-choline-deficient medium

Atul Sahai, Xiaomin Pan, Rachelle Paul, Padmini Malladi, Rohit Kohli, Peter F Whitington
American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 2006, 291 (1): G55-62
Feeding mice a methionine and choline-deficient (MCD) diet serves as an experimental animal model for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In the present study we examined the effect of exposing AML-12 hepatocytes to MCD culture medium in regard to mechanisms of steatosis and alanine amino-transferase (ALT) release. Cells exposed to MCD medium developed significant and progressive steatosis from 6 to 24 h and also had significantly increased loss of ALT into the medium at 18 and 24 hours of incubation. No increased oxidative injury or cell death was observed. Osteopontin (OPN) mRNA in cells and protein expression in medium were significantly increased during 6-24 hours of incubation. MCD medium treatment also resulted in activation of PI3-kinase by 30 minutes and its downstream target p-Akt within 1hour of incubation. Steatosis was associated with increased expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) mRNA and increased ALT release with over expression of ALT mRNA, all of which were completely prevented by inhibition of PI3-kinase (LY294002). Blocking OPN signaling by treating with anti-OPN or anti-beta3-integrin antibody prevented the increased ALT release while only partially prevented the increased ALT mRNA expression, but had no effect on either steatosis or MTTP expression. In conclusion, incubation of cultured hepatocytes with MCD medium results in cellular steatosis and OPN dependent ALT release. PI3-kinase plays a central role in signaling the MCD medium-induced steatosis and increased OPN expression, whereas OPN appears to play a role in signaling hepatocyte ALT release but not steatosis.

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