Reducing endoplasmic reticulum stress does not improve steatohepatitis in mice fed a methionine- and choline-deficient diet

Anne S Henkel, Amanda M Dewey, Kristy A Anderson, Shantel Olivares, Richard M Green
American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 2012, 303 (1): G54-9
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The ER stress response is activated in the livers of mice fed a methionine- and choline-deficient (MCD) diet, yet the role of ER stress in the pathogenesis of MCD diet-induced steatohepatitis is unknown. Using chemical chaperones on hepatic steatosis and markers of inflammation and fibrosis in mice fed a MCD diet, we aim to determine the effects of reducing ER stress. C57BL/6J mice were fed a MCD diet with or without the ER chemical chaperones 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA) and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) for 2 wk. TUDCA and PBA effectively attenuated the ER stress response in MCD diet-fed mice, as evidenced by reduced protein levels of phosphorylated eukaryotic initiation factor 2α and phosphorylated JNK and suppression of mRNA levels of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein, glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa, and X-box binding protein 1. However, PBA and TUDCA did not decrease MCD diet-induced hepatic steatosis. MCD diet-induced hepatic inflammation, as evidenced by increased plasma alanine aminotransferase and induction of hepatic TNFα expression, was also not reduced by PBA or TUDCA. PBA and TUDCA did not attenuate MCD diet-induced upregulation of the fibrosis-associated genes tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 and matrix metalloproteinase-9. ER chemical chaperones reduce MCD diet-induced ER stress, yet they do not improve MCD diet-induced hepatic steatosis, inflammation, or activation of genes associated with fibrosis. These data suggest that although the ER stress response is activated by the MCD diet, it does not have a primary role in the pathogenesis of MCD diet-induced steatohepatitis.

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