DOI: 10.2337/db23-260-lb ISSN: 0012-1797

260-LB: The Effect of LXR Activation on Liver Metabolism and Diet-Induced Steatohepatitis in Mice

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine

While nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects approx. 30% of the US population, there is currently no approved pharmaceutical treatment to inhibit the progression of NAFLD to its more severe stage of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The liver X receptors (LXRs) are key regulators of cholesterol and fatty acid homeostasis in liver. However, the effects of LXR activation on liver metabolism in NASH pathogenesis are not well understood. We hypothesize that LXR activation might reduce NAFLD progression by augmenting lipid composition and metabolism in hepatocytes. To test this hypothesis, 8-week-old male wild type (WT) or obese, melanocortin-4 receptor knockout (Mc4r-/-) mice were placed on either chow or Western diet (WD) for 8 weeks. Half of the WD-fed mice were given WD supplemented with GW3965 (100mg/kg), a selective, orally active agonist for the LXRs. Animals fed GW3965-supplemented diet had increased gene expression of Abca1 and Lpcat3, both transcriptional targets of LXR action. LXR activation significantly decreased body mass of both WT and Mc4r-/- mice, which was correlated with reduction of subcutaneous fat. GW3965 supplementation greatly improved glucose homeostasis of Mc4r-/-. LXR activation significantly decreased hepatic triglycerides, cholesterol esters and ceramides content which was accompanied by decreased expression of lipogenic factors (Fasn, Dgat1 and 2, Fatp5, Elovl1 and 6) in Mc4r-/-. Contrary expression of genes involved in fatty acid β-oxidation together with pyruvate cycling fluxes (VPC, VPK+ME, VPEPCK) were elevated in Mc4r-/- fed diet supplemented with GW3965. These metabolic changes were related to decrease in hepatic fibrosis, expression of NF-κB pathway genes as well as inflammatory (Itgam, Cd274), oxidative (Sod2), and endoplasmic reticulum stress markers (Chop, Atf4 and 6). Taken together, these data suggest that LXR activation improves phenotype of genetically obese WD-fed animals and inhibits progression from NAFLD to NASH.


T. Bednarski: None. M. Rahim: None. N. Whittenbarger: None. A. J. Olichwier: None. J. Young: Consultant; Pfizer Inc. Stock/Shareholder; Metalytics, Inc. Consultant; Metalytics, Inc. Research Support; Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.


National Institutes of Health (R01DK106348); Vanderbilt University; University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nutrition and Health Sciences Fund

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