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Elevated oxysterol levels in human and mouse livers reflect nonalcoholic steatohepatitis


Abstract

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a primary cause of liver disease, leads to complications such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, and carcinoma, but the pathophysiology of NASH is incompletely understood. Epstein-Barr virus-induced G protein-coupled receptor 2 (EBI2) and its oxysterol ligand 7α,25-dihydroxycholesterol (7α,25-diHC) are recently discovered immune regulators. Several lines of evidence suggest a role of oxysterols in NASH pathogenesis, but rigorous testing has not been performed. We measured oxysterol levels in the livers of NASH patients by LC-MS and tested the role of the EBI2-7α,25-diHC system in a murine feeding model of NASH. Free oxysterol profiling in livers from NASH patients revealed a pronounced increase in 24- and 7-hydroxylated oxysterols in NASH compared with controls. Levels of 24- and 7-hydroxylated oxysterols correlated with histological NASH activity. Histological analysis of murine liver samples demonstrated ballooning and liver inflammation. No significant genotype-related differences were observed in Ebi2$^{-/-}$ mice and mice with defects in the 7α,25-diHC synthesizing enzymes CH25H and CYP7B1 compared with wild-type littermate controls, arguing against an essential role of these genes in NASH pathogenesis. Elevated 24- and 7-hydroxylated oxysterol levels were confirmed in murine NASH liver samples. Our results suggest increased bile acid synthesis in NASH samples, as judged by the enhanced level of 7α-hydroxycholest-4-en-3-one and impaired 24S-hydroxycholesterol metabolism as characteristic biochemical changes in livers affected by NASH.

Abstract

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a primary cause of liver disease, leads to complications such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, and carcinoma, but the pathophysiology of NASH is incompletely understood. Epstein-Barr virus-induced G protein-coupled receptor 2 (EBI2) and its oxysterol ligand 7α,25-dihydroxycholesterol (7α,25-diHC) are recently discovered immune regulators. Several lines of evidence suggest a role of oxysterols in NASH pathogenesis, but rigorous testing has not been performed. We measured oxysterol levels in the livers of NASH patients by LC-MS and tested the role of the EBI2-7α,25-diHC system in a murine feeding model of NASH. Free oxysterol profiling in livers from NASH patients revealed a pronounced increase in 24- and 7-hydroxylated oxysterols in NASH compared with controls. Levels of 24- and 7-hydroxylated oxysterols correlated with histological NASH activity. Histological analysis of murine liver samples demonstrated ballooning and liver inflammation. No significant genotype-related differences were observed in Ebi2$^{-/-}$ mice and mice with defects in the 7α,25-diHC synthesizing enzymes CH25H and CYP7B1 compared with wild-type littermate controls, arguing against an essential role of these genes in NASH pathogenesis. Elevated 24- and 7-hydroxylated oxysterol levels were confirmed in murine NASH liver samples. Our results suggest increased bile acid synthesis in NASH samples, as judged by the enhanced level of 7α-hydroxycholest-4-en-3-one and impaired 24S-hydroxycholesterol metabolism as characteristic biochemical changes in livers affected by NASH.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Visceral and Transplantation Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Biochemistry
Life Sciences > Endocrinology
Life Sciences > Cell Biology
Language:English
Date:July 2019
Deposited On:10 Jan 2020 14:19
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:21
Publisher:American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
ISSN:0022-2275
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.M093229
PubMed ID:31113816

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