Nonphagocytic Activation of NOX2 Is Implicated in Progressive Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis During Aging

Hepatology. 2020 Oct;72(4):1204-1218. doi: 10.1002/hep.31118. Epub 2020 Oct 9.


Background and aims: Older patients with obesity/type II diabetes mellitus frequently present with advanced NASH. Whether this is due to specific molecular pathways that accelerate fibrosis during aging is unknown. Activation of the Src homology 2 domain-containing collagen-related (Shc) proteins and redox stress have been recognized in aging; however, their link to NASH has not been explored.

Approach and results: Shc expression increased in livers of older patients with NASH, as assessed by real time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) or western blots. Fibrosis, Shc expression, markers of senescence, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, reduced form oxidases (NOXs) were studied in young/old mice on fast food diet (FFD). To inhibit Shc in old mice, lentiviral (LV)-short hairpin Shc versus control-LV were used during FFD. For hepatocyte-specific effects, floxed (fl/fl) Shc mice on FFD were injected with adeno-associated virus 8-thyroxine-binding globulin-Cre-recombinase versus control. Fibrosis was accelerated in older mice on FFD, and Shc inhibition by LV in older mice or hepatocyte-specific deletion resulted in significantly improved inflammation, reduction in senescence markers in older mice, lipid peroxidation, and fibrosis. To study NOX2 activation, the interaction of p47phox (NOX2 regulatory subunit) and p52Shc was evaluated by proximity ligation and coimmunoprecipitations. Palmitate-induced p52Shc binding to p47phox , activating the NOX2 complex, more so at an older age. Kinetics of binding were assessed in Src homology 2 domain (SH2) or phosphotyrosine-binding (PTB) domain deletion mutants by biolayer interferometry, revealing the role of SH2 and the PTB domains. Lastly, an in silico model of p52Shc/p47phox interaction using RosettaDock was generated.

Conclusions: Accelerated fibrosis in the aged is modulated by p52Shc/NOX2. We show a pathway for direct activation of the phagocytic NOX2 in hepatocytes by p52Shc binding and activating the p47phox subunit that results in redox stress and accelerated fibrosis in the aged.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NADPH Oxidase 2 / physiology*
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Shc Signaling Adaptor Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Shc Signaling Adaptor Proteins / physiology
  • src Homology Domains


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Shc Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • Cybb protein, mouse
  • NADPH Oxidase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • neutrophil cytosolic factor 1