CCAAT/enhancing binding protein beta deletion in mice attenuates inflammation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and lipid accumulation in diet-induced nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Shaikh Mizanoor Rahman, Jill M Schroeder-Gloeckler, Rachel C Janssen, Hua Jiang, Ishtiaq Qadri, Kenneth N Maclean, Jacob E Friedman
Hepatology: Official Journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 2007, 45 (5): 1108-17

UNLABELLED: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is characterized by steatosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress. To investigate whether the transcription factor CCAAT/Enhancer binding protein (C/EBPbeta) is involved in the development of NASH, C57BL/6J wild-type (WT) or C/EBPbeta knockout (C/EBPbeta-/-) mice were fed either a methionine and choline deficient (MCD) diet or standard chow. These WT mice fed a MCD diet for 4 weeks showed a 2- to 3-fold increase in liver C/EBPbeta messenger RNA and protein, along with increased expression of lipogenic genes peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor gamma and Fas. WT mice also showed increased levels of the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway proteins phosphorylated eukaryotic translation initiation factor alpha, phosphorylated pancreatic endoplasmic reticulum kinase, and C/EBP homologous protein, along with inflammatory markers phosphorylated nuclear factor kappaB and phosphorylated C-jun N-terminal kinase compared to chow-fed controls. Cytochrome P450 2E1 protein and acetyl coA oxidase messenger RNA involved in hepatic lipid peroxidation were also markedly increased in WT MCD diet-fed group. In contrast, C/EBPbeta-/- mice fed a MCD diet showed a 60% reduction in hepatic triglyceride accumulation and decreased liver injury as evidenced by reduced serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels, and by H&E staining. Immunoblots and real-time qPCR data revealed a significant reduction in expression of stress related proteins and lipogenic genes in MCD diet-fed C/EBPbeta-/- mice. Furthermore, circulating TNFalpha and expression of acute phase response proteins CRP and SAP were significantly lower in C/EBPbeta-/- mice compared to WT mice. Conversely, C/EBPbeta over-expression in livers of WT mice increased steatosis, nuclear factor-kappaB, and endoplasmic reticulum stress, similar to MCD diet-fed mice.

CONCLUSION: Taken together, these data suggest a previously unappreciated molecular link between C/EBPbeta, hepatic steatosis and inflammation and suggest that increased C/EBPbeta expression may be an important factor underlying events leading to NASH.

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