JOURNAL ARTICLE

Caspase-1-mediated regulation of fibrogenesis in diet-induced steatohepatitis

Laura J Dixon, Michael Berk, Samjhana Thapaliya, Bettina G Papouchado, Ariel E Feldstein
Laboratory Investigation; a Journal of Technical Methods and Pathology 2012, 92 (5): 713-23
22411067
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is typically associated with pro-apoptotic caspase activation. A potential role for pro-inflammatory caspases remains incompletely understood. Our aims were to examine a potential role of caspase-1 in the development of liver damage and fibrosis in NASH. C57BL/6 wild type (WT) developed marked steatohepatitis, activation, fibrosis and increased hepatic caspase-1 and interleukin-1β expression when placed on the methionine- and choline-deficient (MCD) diet. Marked caspase-1 activation was detected in the liver of MCD-fed mice. Hepatocyte and non-parenchymal fractionation of the livers further demonstrated that caspase-1 activation after MCD feeding was mainly localized to non-parenchymal cells. Caspase-1-knockout (Casp1(-/-)) mice on the MCD diet showed marked reduction in mRNA expression of genes involved in inflammation and fibrogenesis (tumor necrosis factor-α was 7.6-fold greater in WT vs Casp1(-/-) MCD-fed mice; F4/80 was 1.5-fold greater in WT vs Casp1(-/-) MCD-fed mice; α-smooth muscle actin was 3.2-fold greater in WT vs Casp1(-/-) MCD-fed mice; collagen 1-α was 7.6-fold greater in WT vs Casp1(-/-) MCD-fed mice; transforming growth factor-β was 2.4-fold greater in WT vs Casp1(-/-) MCD-fed mice; cysteine- and glycine-rich protein 2 was 3.2-fold greater in WT vs Casp1(-/-) MCD-fed mice). Furthermore, Sirius red staining for hepatic collagen deposition was significantly reduced in Casp1(-/-) MCD-fed mice compared with WT MCD-fed animals. However, serum alanine aminotransferase levels, caspase-3 activity and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling-positive cells were similar in Casp1(-/-) and WT mice on the MCD diet. Selective Kupffer cell depletion by clodronate injection markedly suppressed MCD-induced caspase-1 activation and protected mice from fibrogenesis and fibrosis associated with this diet. The conclusion of this study is that it uncovers a novel role for caspase-1 in inflammation and fibrosis during NASH development.

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