The vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT) is responsible for the vesicular storage and release of ATP from various ATP-secreting cells, and it plays an essential role in purinergic signaling. Although extracellular ATP and its degradation products are known to mediate various inflammatory responses via purinoceptors, whether vesicular ATP release affects steatohepatitis and acute liver injury is far less understood. In the present study, we investigated the effects of clodronate, a potent and selective VNUT inhibitor, on acute and chronic liver inflammation in mice. In a model of methionine/choline-deficient diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the administration of clodronate reduced hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and triglyceride accumulation. Clodronate also protected mice against high-fat/high-cholesterol diet-induced steatohepatitis. Moreover, prophylactic administration of clodronate prevented d-galactosamine and lipopolysaccharide-induced acute liver injury by reducing inflammatory cytokines and hepatocellular apoptosis. In vitro, clodronate inhibited glucose-induced vesicular ATP release mediated by VNUT and reduced the intracellular level and secretion of triglycerides in isolated hepatocytes. These results suggest that VNUT-dependent vesicular ATP release plays a crucial role in the recruitment of immune cells, cytokine production, and the aggravation of steatosis in the liver. Pharmacological inhibition of VNUT may provide therapeutic benefits in liver inflammatory disorders, including NASH and acute toxin-induced injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes