Aliskiren attenuates steatohepatitis and increases turnover of hepatic fat in mice fed with a methionine and choline deficient diet

Kuei-Chuan Lee, Che-Chang Chan, Ying-Ying Yang, Yun-Cheng Hsieh, Yi-Hsiang Huang, Han-Chieh Lin
PloS One 2013, 8 (10): e77817

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Activation of the renin-angiotensin-system is known to play a role in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Renin knockout mice manifest decreased hepatic steatosis. Aliskiren is the first direct renin inhibitor to be approved for clinical use. Our study aims to evaluate the possible therapeutic effects and mechanism of the chronic administration of aliskiren in a dietary steatohepatitis murine model.

METHODS: Male C57BL/6 mice were fed with a methionine and choline-deficient (MCD) diet to induce steatohepatitis. After 8 weeks of feeding, the injured mice were randomly assigned to receive aliskiren (50 mg·kg(-1) per day) or vehicle administration for 4 weeks. Normal controls were also administered aliskiren (50 mg·kg(-1) per day) or a vehicle for 4 weeks.

RESULTS: In the MCD mice, aliskiren attenuated hepatic steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis. Aliskiren did not change expression of lipogenic genes but increase turnover of hepatic fat by up-regulating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a, cytochrome P450-4A14 and phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase. Furthermore, aliskiren decreased the hepatic expression of angiotensin II and nuclear factor κB. The levels of oxidative stress, hepatocyte apoptosis, activation of Kupffer cells and hepatic stellate cells, and pro-fibrotic markers were also reduced in the livers of the MCD mice receiving aliskiren.

CONCLUSIONS: Aliskiren attenuates steatohepatitis and fibrosis in mice fed with a MCD diet. Thus, the noted therapeutic effects might come from not only the reduction of angiotensin II but also the up-regulation of fatty acid oxidation-related genes.

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