Background & Aims: Mitochondrial dysfunction is considered a pathogenic linker in the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Inappropriate mitochondrial protein-quality control, possibly induced by insufficiency of the mitochondrial matrix caseinolytic protease P (ClpP), can potentially cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Herein, we aimed to investigate hepatic ClpP levels in a diet-induced model of NASH and determine whether supplementation of ClpP can ameliorate diet-induced NASH. Methods: NASH was induced by a high-fat/high-fructose (HF/HFr) diet in C57BL/6J mice. Stress/inflammatory signals were induced in mouse primary hepatocytes (MPHs) by treatment with palmitate/oleate (PA/OA). ClpP levels in hepatocytes were reduced using the RNAi-mediated gene knockdown technique but increased through the viral transduction of ClpP. ClpP activation was induced by administering a chemical activator of ClpP. Results: Hepatic ClpP protein levels in C57BL/6J mice fed a HF/HFr diet were lower than the levels in those fed a normal chow diet. PA/OA treatment also decreased the ClpP protein levels in MPHs. Overexpression or activation of ClpP reversed PA/OA-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and stress/inflammatory signal activation in MPHs, whereas ClpP knockdown induced mitochondrial dysfunction and stress/inflammatory signals in these cells. On the other hand, ClpP overexpression or activation improved HF/HFr-induced NASH characteristics such as hepatic steatosis, inflammation, fibrosis, and injury in the C57BL/6J mice, whereas ClpP knockdown further augmented steatohepatitis in mice fed a HF/HFr diet. Conclusions: Reduced ClpP expression and subsequent mitochondrial dysfunction are key to the development of diet-induced NASH. ClpP supplementation through viral transduction or chemical activation represents a potential therapeutic strategy to prevent diet-induced NASH. Lay summary: Western diets, containing high fat and high fructose, often induce non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Mitochondrial dysfunction is considered pathogenically linked to diet-induced NASH. We observed that the mitochondrial protease ClpP decreased in the livers of mice fed a western diet and supplementation of ClpP ameliorated western diet-induced NASH.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants ( 2019R1A2C1089110 and 2020R1A4A4079722 ) funded by the Korean government ( MSIT ).
© 2022 European Association for the Study of the Liver
- mitochondrial dysfunction
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