An essential role for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in alcoholic liver injury: regulation of proinflammatory cytokines and hepatic steatosis in mice

Hepatology. 2011 Dec;54(6):2185-97. doi: 10.1002/hep.24599.


The importance of chemokines in alcoholic liver injury has been implicated. The role of the chemokine, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), elevated in patients with alcoholic liver disease is not yet understood. Here, we evaluated the pathophysiological significance of MCP-1 and its receptor, chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2 (CCR2), in alcoholic liver injury. The Leiber-DeCarli diet containing alcohol or isocaloric control diets were fed to wild-type (WT) and MCP-1-deficient knockout (KO) mice for 6 weeks. In vivo and in vitro assays were performed to study the role of MCP-1 in alcoholic liver injury. MCP-1 was increased in Kupffer cells (KCs) as well as hepatocytes of alcohol-fed mice. Alcohol feeding increased serum alanine aminotransferase in WT and CCR2KO, but not MCP-1KO, mice. Alcohol-induced liver steatosis and triglyceride were attenuated in alcohol-fed MCP-1KO, but high in CCR2KO mice, compared to WT, whereas serum endotoxin was high in alcohol-fed WT and MCP-1KO mice. Expression of liver proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, KC/IL-8, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, and cluster of differentiation 68 was induced in alcohol-fed WT, but inhibited in MCP-1KO, mice independent of nuclear factor kappa light-chain enhancer of activated B cell activation in KCs. Oxidative stress, but not cytochrome P450 2E1, was prevented in chronic alcohol-fed MCP-1KO mice, compared to WT. Increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)α and PPARγ was accompanied by nuclear translocation, DNA binding, and induction of fatty acid metabolism genes acyl coenzyme A oxidase and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A in livers of alcohol-fed MCP-1KO mice, compared to WT controls. In vitro assays uncovered an inhibitory effect of recombinant MCP-1 on PPARα messenger RNA and peroxisome proliferator response element binding in hepatocytes independent of CCR2.

Conclusion: Deficiency of MCP-1 protects mice against alcoholic liver injury, independent of CCR2, by inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines and induction of genes related to fatty acid oxidation, linking chemokines to hepatic lipid metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acyl-CoA Oxidase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemokine CCL2 / deficiency
  • Chemokine CCL2 / physiology*
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kupffer Cells / drug effects
  • Kupffer Cells / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / physiopathology*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / prevention & control
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors / metabolism
  • Receptors, CCR2 / physiology*


  • Ccl2 protein, mouse
  • Ccr2 protein, mouse
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • Acyl-CoA Oxidase
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase