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Liver ASK1 protects from non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease and fibrosis


Challa, Tenagne D; Wueest, Stephan; Lucchini, Fabrizio C; Dedual, Mara; Modica, Salvatore; Borsigova, Marcela; Wolfrum, Christian; Blüher, Matthias; Konrad, Daniel (2019). Liver ASK1 protects from non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease and fibrosis. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 11(10):e10124.

Abstract

Non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is strongly associated with obesity and may progress to non‐alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver fibrosis. The deficit of pharmacological therapies for the latter mainly results from an incomplete understanding of involved pathological mechanisms. Herein, we identify apoptosis signal‐regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) as a suppressor of NASH and fibrosis formation. High‐fat diet‐fed and aged chow‐fed liver‐specific ASK1‐knockout mice develop a higher degree of hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis compared to controls. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of ASK1 increased hepatic lipid accumulation in wild‐type mice. In line, liver‐specific ASK1 overexpression protected mice from the development of high‐fat diet‐induced hepatic steatosis and carbon tetrachloride‐induced fibrosis. Mechanistically, ASK1 depletion blunts autophagy, thereby enhancing lipid droplet accumulation and liver fibrosis. In human livers of lean and obese subjects, ASK1 expression correlated negatively with liver fat content and NASH scores, but positively with markers for autophagy. Taken together, ASK1 may be a novel therapeutic target to tackle NAFLD and liver fibrosis.

Abstract

Non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is strongly associated with obesity and may progress to non‐alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver fibrosis. The deficit of pharmacological therapies for the latter mainly results from an incomplete understanding of involved pathological mechanisms. Herein, we identify apoptosis signal‐regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) as a suppressor of NASH and fibrosis formation. High‐fat diet‐fed and aged chow‐fed liver‐specific ASK1‐knockout mice develop a higher degree of hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis compared to controls. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of ASK1 increased hepatic lipid accumulation in wild‐type mice. In line, liver‐specific ASK1 overexpression protected mice from the development of high‐fat diet‐induced hepatic steatosis and carbon tetrachloride‐induced fibrosis. Mechanistically, ASK1 depletion blunts autophagy, thereby enhancing lipid droplet accumulation and liver fibrosis. In human livers of lean and obese subjects, ASK1 expression correlated negatively with liver fat content and NASH scores, but positively with markers for autophagy. Taken together, ASK1 may be a novel therapeutic target to tackle NAFLD and liver fibrosis.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Molecular Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:Molecular Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:09 Jan 2020 09:07
Last Modified:11 May 2020 19:18
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:1757-4676
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.15252/emmm.201810124
PubMed ID:31595673

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