CD62L (L-Selectin) dependent lymphocyte infiltration is known to induce inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), while its function in the liver, especially in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), remains unclear. We here investigated the functional role of CD62L in NASH in humans as well as in two mouse models of steatohepatitis. Hepatic expression of a soluble form of CD62L (sCD62L) was measured in patients with steatosis and NASH. Furthermore, CD62L-/- mice were fed with a methionine and choline deficient (MCD) diet for 4 weeks or with a high fat diet (HFD) for 24 weeks. Patients with NASH displayed increased serum levels of sCD62L. Hepatic CD62L expression was higher in patients with steatosis and increased dramatically in NASH patients. Interestingly, compared to wild type (WT) mice, MCD and HFD-treated CD62L-/- mice were protected from diet-induced steatohepatitis. This was reflected by less fat accumulation in hepatocytes and a dampened manifestation of the metabolic syndrome with an improved insulin resistance and decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Consistent with ameliorated disease, CD62L-/- animals exhibited an enhanced hepatic infiltration of Treg cells and a strong activation of an anti-oxidative stress response. Those changes finally resulted in less fibrosis in CD62L-/- mice. Additionally, this effect could be reproduced in a therapeutic setting by administrating an anti-CD62L blocking antibody. CD62L expression in humans and mice correlates with disease activity of steatohepatitis. CD62L knockout and anti-CD62L-treated mice are protected from diet-induced steatohepatitis suggesting that CD62L is a promising target for therapeutic interventions in NASH.
Keywords: CD62L; L-Selectin; NASH; insulin resistance; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.