Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) covers a spectrum of liver damage ranging from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, and cirrhosis. To date, no pharmacological treatment is approved for NAFLD/NASH. Here, we report on preclinical and clinical data with GFT505, a novel dual peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha/delta (PPAR-α/δ) agonist. In the rat, GFT505 concentrated in the liver with limited extrahepatic exposure and underwent extensive enterohepatic cycling. The efficacy of GFT505 was assessed in animal models of NAFLD/NASH and liver fibrosis (Western diet [WD]-fed human apolipoprotein E2 [hApoE2] transgenic mice, methionine- and choline-deficient diet-fed db/db mice, and CCl4 -induced fibrosis in rats). GFT505 demonstrated liver-protective effects on steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. In addition, GFT505 improved liver dysfunction markers, decreased hepatic lipid accumulation, and inhibited proinflammatory (interleukin-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and F4/80) and profibrotic (transforming growth factor beta, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2, collagen type I, alpha 1, and collagen type I, alpha 2) gene expression. To determine the role of PPAR-α-independent mechanisms, the effect of GFT505 was assessed in hApoE2 knock-in/PPAR-α knockout mice. In these mice, GFT505 also prevented WD-induced liver steatosis and inflammation, indicating a contribution of PPAR-α-independent mechanisms. Finally, the effect of GFT505 on liver dysfunction markers was assessed in a combined analysis of four phase II clinical studies in metabolic syndrome patients. GFT505 treatment decreased plasma concentrations of alanine aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, and alkaline phosphatase.
Conclusion: The dual PPAR-α/δ agonist, GFT505, is a promising liver-targeted drug for treatment of NAFLD/NASH. In animals, its protective effects are mediated by both PPAR-α-dependent and -independent mechanisms.
© 2013 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.