Cholesterol Induces Nrf-2-and HIF-1 α-Dependent Hepatocyte Proliferation and Liver Regeneration to Ameliorate Bile Acid Toxicity in Mouse Models of NASH and Fibrosis

Yula Kaminsky-Kolesnikov, Einat Rauchbach, Diana Abu-Halaka, Michal Hahn, Carmen García-Ruiz, Jose C. Fernandez-Checa, Zecharia Madar, Oren Tirosh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is currently one of the most common liver diseases worldwide. The toxic effects of lipids and bile acids contribute to NASH. The regenerative pathway in response to damage to the liver includes activation of the inflammatory process and priming of hepatocytes to proliferate to restore tissue homeostasis. However, the effects of cholesterol on bile acid toxicity, inflammation, and fibrosis remain unknown. We have used two mouse models of bile acid toxicity to induce liver inflammation and fibrosis. A three-week study was conducted using wild-Type mice receiving an atherogenic diet (1% (w/w) cholesterol and 0.5% (w/w) cholic acid) and its separate constituents. Mdr2-/-mice were fed a high-cholesterol-enriched diet or standard AIN-93 diet for 6 weeks. We measured serum transaminase levels to assess liver tissue necrosis and fibrosis; iNOS, SAA1, SAA2, and F4/80 levels to determine liver inflammation; PCNA and HGF levels to evaluate proliferative response; and Nrf-2, HIF-1α, and downstream gene expression to establish protective responses. In both studies, high bile acid levels increased serum transaminases and liver fibrosis, whereas cholesterol supplementation attenuated these effects. Cholesterol supplementation activated survival and the robustness of HIF-1α and Nrf-2 gene expression in hepatocytes, induced liver inflammation and hepatocyte proliferation, and inhibited stellate cell hyperplasia and fibrosis. In conclusion, our data show for the first time that cholesterol intake protects against bile acid liver toxicity. The balance between hepatic cholesterol and bile acid levels may be of prognostic value in liver disease progression and trajectory.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5393761
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume2020
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Yula Kaminsky-Kolesnikov et al.

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