Clusterin is a multifunctional glycoprotein that plays important roles and is up-regulated in liver diseases such as hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, little is known about the significance of clusterin in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The aim of this study is to examine the role of clusterin in progression of steatohepatitis in mice fed a methionine and choline deficient (MCD) diet. We generated hepatocyte-specific clusterin overexpression (hCLU-tg) mice, and hCLU-tg mice showed lower levels of hepatic triglycerides, less infiltration of macrophages and reduction of TNF-α, activation of Nrf-2 than wild-type littermates fed the MCD diet. Also, sustained clusterin expression in liver ameliorated hepatic fibrogenesis by reducing the activation of hepatic stellate cells by MCD diet. Sustained expression of clusterin in liver functioned as a preconditioning stimulus and prevented MCD diet-induced severe steatohepatitis injury via Nrf2 activation. These results demonstrate a novel function of clusterin as an immune preconditioning regulator in various inflammatory diseases including steatohepatitis.
Keywords: Clusterin (CLU); Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB); Oxidative stress; Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).
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