The pathogenesis of ethanol versus methionine and choline deficient diet-induced liver injury

Maxwell Afari Gyamfi, Ivan Damjanov, Samuel French, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan
Biochemical Pharmacology 2008 February 15, 75 (4): 981-95
The differences and similarities of the pathogenesis of alcoholic (ASH) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) were examined. Mice (six/group) received one of four Lieber-Decarli liquid diets for 6 weeks: (1) paired-fed control diet; (2) control diet with ethanol (ethanol); (3) paired-fed methionine/choline deficient (MCD) diet; and (4) MCD plus ethanol (combination). Hepatotoxicity, histology, and gene expression changes were examined. Both MCD and ethanol induced macrovesicular steatosis. However, the combination diet produced massive steatosis with minor necrosis and inflammation. MCD and combination diets, but not ethanol, induced serum ALT levels by 1.6- and 10-fold, respectively. MCD diet, but not ethanol, also induced serum alkaline phosphatase levels suggesting bile duct injury. Ethanol increased liver fatty acid binding protein (L-FABP) mRNA and protein levels. In contrast, the combination diet decreased L-FABP mRNA and protein levels and increased hepatic free fatty acid and lipid peroxide levels. Ethanol, but not MCD, reduced hepatic S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and GSH levels. Hepatic TNFalpha protein levels were increased in all treatment groups, however, IL-6, a hepatoprotective cytokine which promotes liver regeneration was increased in ethanol-fed mice (2-fold), but decreased in the combination diet-treated mice. In addition, the combination diet reduced phosphorylated STAT3 and Bcl-2 levels. While MCD diet might cause bile duct injury and cholestasis, ethanol preferentially interferes with the SAM-GSH oxidative stress pathway. The exacerbated liver injury induced by the combination diet might be explained by reduced L-FABP, increased free fatty acids, oxidative stress, and decreased IL-6 protein levels. The combination diet is an efficient model of steatohepatitis.

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