Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common form of chronic liver disease in industrialized countries. Recent studies have highlighted the association between peroxisomal dysfunction and hepatic steatosis. Peroxisomes are intracellular organelles that contribute to several crucial metabolic processes, such as facilitation of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and removal of reactive oxygen species through catalase or plasmalogen synthesis. Statins are known to prevent hepatic steatosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), but underlying mechanisms of this prevention are largely unknown. Methods: Seven-week-old C57BL/6J mice were given normal chow or a methionine- and choline-deficient diet (MCDD) with or without various statins, fluvastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin, atorvastatin, and rosuvastatin (15 mg/kg/day), for 6 weeks. Histological lesions were analyzed by grading and staging systems of NASH. We also measured mitochondrial and peroxisomal FAO in the liver. Results: Statin treatment prevented the development of MCDD-induced NASH. Both steatosis and inflammation or fibrosis grades were significantly improved by statins compared with MCDD-fed mice. Gene expression levels of peroxisomal proliferator- activated receptor α (PPARα) were decreased by MCDD and recovered by statin treatment. MCDD-induced suppression of mitochondrial and peroxisomal FAO was restored by statins. Each statin's effect on increasing FAO and improving NASH was independent on its effect of decreasing cholesterol levels. Conclusion: Statins prevented NASH and increased mitochondrial and peroxisomal FAO via induction of PPARα. The ability to increase hepatic FAO is likely the major determinant of NASH prevention by statins. Improvement of peroxisomal function by statins may contribute to the prevention of NASH.
- Fatty acid oxidation
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism