Generation of Human Fatty Livers Using Custom-Engineered Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells with Modifiable SIRT1 Metabolism

Cell Metab. 2019 Aug 6;30(2):385-401.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.06.017.


The mechanisms by which steatosis of the liver progresses to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and end-stage liver disease remain elusive. Metabolic derangements in hepatocytes controlled by SIRT1 play a role in the development of fatty liver in inbred animals. The ability to perform similar studies using human tissue has been limited by the genetic variability in man. We generated human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with controllable expression of SIRT1. By differentiating edited iPSCs into hepatocytes and knocking down SIRT1, we found increased fatty acid biosynthesis that exacerbates fat accumulation. To model human fatty livers, we repopulated decellularized rat livers with human mesenchymal cells, fibroblasts, macrophages, and human SIRT1 knockdown iPSC-derived hepatocytes and found that the human iPSC-derived liver tissue developed macrosteatosis, acquired proinflammatory phenotype, and shared a similar lipid and metabolic profiling to human fatty livers. Biofabrication of genetically edited human liver tissue may become an important tool for investigating human liver biology and disease.

Keywords: NAFLD; NASH; SIRT1; cellular engineering; hepatic differentiation; human fatty liver; human iPSCs; liver metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Engineering*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sirtuin 1 / deficiency
  • Sirtuin 1 / genetics
  • Sirtuin 1 / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • SIRT1 protein, human
  • Sirtuin 1