Effects of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase deficiency on high-fat diet-induced hepatic inflammation

Junji Nagano, Masahito Shimizu, Takeshi Hara, Yohei Shirakami, Takahiro Kochi, Nobuhiko Nakamura, Hirofumi Ohtaki, Hiroyasu Ito, Takuji Tanaka, Hisashi Tsurumi, Kuniaki Saito, Mitsuru Seishima, Hisataka Moriwaki
PloS One 2013, 8 (9): e73404
Hepatic immune regulation is associated with the progression from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a severe condition of inflamed fatty liver. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an intracellular enzyme that mediates the catabolism of L-tryptophan to L-kynurenine, plays an important role in hepatic immune regulation. In the present study, we examined the effects of IDO gene silencing on high-fat diet (HFD)-induced liver inflammation and fibrosis in mice. After being fed a HFD for 26 weeks, the IDO-knockout (KO) mice showed a marked infiltration of inflammatory cells, especially macrophages and T lymphocytes, in the liver. The expression levels of F4/80, IFNγ, IL-1β, and IL-6 mRNA in the liver and the expression levels of F4/80 and TNF-α mRNA in the white adipose tissue were significantly increased in IDO-KO mice, although hepatic steatosis, the accumulation of intrahepatic triglycerides, and the amount of oxidative stress were lower than those in IDO-wild-type mice. IDO-KO mice also developed marked pericellular fibrosis in the liver, accumulated hepatic hydroxyproline, and exhibited increased expression levels of hepatic TGF-β1 mRNA. These findings suggest that IDO-KO renders the mice more susceptible to HFD-induced hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Therefore, IDO may have a protective effect against hepatic fibrosis, at least in this HFD-induced liver injury model.

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