Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) prevalence is rising with no pharmacotherapy approved. A major hurdle in NASH drug development is the poor translatability of preclinical studies to safe/effective clinical outcomes, and recent failures highlight a need to identify new targetable pathways. Dysregulated glycine metabolism has emerged as a causative factor and therapeutic target in NASH. Here, we report that the tripeptide DT-109 (Gly-Gly-Leu) dose-dependently attenuates steatohepatitis and fibrosis in mice. To enhance the probability of successful translation, we developed a nonhuman primate model that histologically and transcriptionally mimics human NASH. Applying a multiomics approach combining transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and metagenomics, we found that DT-109 reverses hepatic steatosis and prevents fibrosis progression in nonhuman primates, not only by stimulating fatty acid degradation and glutathione formation, as found in mice, but also by modulating microbial bile acid metabolism. Our studies describe a highly translatable NASH model and highlight the need for clinical evaluation of DT-109.
Keywords: DT-109; amino acids; bile acids; gut microbiota; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; nonhuman primates; therapeutic.
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