Chronic jet lag induces spontaneous hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in wild-type mice following a mechanism very similar to that observed in obese humans. The process initiates with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that progresses to steatohepatitis and fibrosis before HCC detection. This pathophysiological pathway is driven by jet-lag-induced genome-wide gene deregulation and global liver metabolic dysfunction, with nuclear receptor-controlled cholesterol/bile acid and xenobiotic metabolism among the top deregulated pathways. Ablation of farnesoid X receptor dramatically increases enterohepatic bile acid levels and jet-lag-induced HCC, while loss of constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), a well-known liver tumor promoter that mediates toxic bile acid signaling, inhibits NAFLD-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Circadian disruption activates CAR by promoting cholestasis, peripheral clock disruption, and sympathetic dysfunction.
Keywords: cholestasis; chronic circadian disruption; constitutive androstane receptor (CAR); farnesoid X receptor (FXR); fibrosis; hepatocarcinogenesis; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; social jet lag; sympathetic dysfunction.
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