Paracrine Activation of Hepatic CB1 Receptors by Stellate Cell-Derived Endocannabinoids Mediates Alcoholic Fatty Liver

Won il Jeong, Douglas Osei-Hyiaman, Ogyi Park, Jie Liu, Sándor Bátkai, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Norio Horiguchi, Judith Harvey-White, Giovanni Marsicano, Beat Lutz, Bin Gao, George Kunos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alcohol-induced fatty liver, a major cause of morbidity, has been attributed to enhanced hepatic lipogenesis and decreased fat clearance of unknown mechanism. Here we report that the steatosis induced in mice by a low-fat, liquid ethanol diet is attenuated by concurrent blockade of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Global or hepatocyte-specific CB1 knockout mice are resistant to ethanol-induced steatosis and increases in lipogenic gene expression and have increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 activity, which, unlike in controls, is not reduced by ethanol treatment. Ethanol feeding increases the hepatic expression of CB1 receptors and upregulates the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and its biosynthetic enzyme diacylglycerol lipase β selectively in hepatic stellate cells. In control but not CB1 receptor-deficient hepatocytes, coculture with stellate cells from ethanol-fed mice results in upregulation of CB1 receptors and lipogenic gene expression. We conclude that paracrine activation of hepatic CB1 receptors by stellate cell-derived 2-AG mediates ethanol-induced steatosis through increasing lipogenesis and decreasing fatty acid oxidation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 5 2008



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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