Background and aims
A high serum level of saturated free fatty acids (FFAs) is associated with the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). X-box binding protein-1 (XBP-1) is activated by FFA treatment upon splicing. XBP-1 is a transcription factor induced by the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor endoribonuclease inositol-requiring enzyme 1 alpha (IRE1 alpha). However, the role of XBP-1 in NAFLD remains relatively unexplored. Toyocamycin was recently reported to attenuate the activation of XBP-1, possibly by inducing a conformational change in IRE1 alpha. In this study, we examined the effect of toyocamycin on hepatocyte lipoapoptosis and steatosis. We also explored the effects of toyocamycin in a mouse model of NAFLD.
Huh-7 cells and isolated rat primary hepatocytes were treated with palmitic acid (PA), which is a saturated FFA, in the presence or absence of toyocamycin. In addition, male C57BL/6J mice were fed a diet rich in saturated fat, fructose, and cholesterol (FFC) for 4 months, after which the effect of toyocamycin was assessed.
Toyocamycin attenuated FFA-induced steatosis. It also significantly reduced PA-induced hepatocyte lipoapoptosis. In addition, toyocamycin reduced the expression of cytosine-cytosine-adenosine-adenosine-thymidine enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), which is a key player in ER stress-mediated apoptosis, as well as its downstream cell death modulator, death receptor 5. In the in vivo study, toyocamycin ameliorated the liver injury caused by FFC-induced NAFLD. It also reduced hepatic steatosis and the expression of lipogenic genes.
The data we obtained suggest that toyocamycin attenuates hepatocyte lipogenesis and ameliorates NAFLD in vivo and may therefore be beneficial in the treatment of NAFLD in humans.