Inhibition of secretin/secretin receptor axis ameliorates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease phenotypes. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND & AIMS: Human non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized at early stages by hepatic steatosis, which may progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) when the liver displays microvesicular steatosis, lobular inflammation, and pericellular fibrosis. The secretin (SCT)/secretin receptor (SCTR) axis promotes biliary senescence and liver fibrosis in cholestatic models through downregulation of miR-125b signaling. We aim to evaluate the effect of disrupting biliary SCT/SCTR/miR-125b signaling on hepatic steatosis, biliary senescence and liver fibrosis in NAFLD/NASH. APPROACH & RESULTS: In vivo, 4 wk male WT, Sct-/- and Sctr-/- mice were fed a control diet (CD) or high-fat diet (HFD) for 16 wks. The expression of SCT/SCTR/miR-125b axis was measured in human NAFLD/NASH liver samples and HFD mouse livers by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and qPCR. Biliary/hepatocyte senescence, ductular reaction and liver angiogenesis were evaluated in mouse liver and human NAFLD/NASH liver samples. miR-125b target lipogenesis genes in hepatocytes were screened and validated by custom RT2 Profiler PCR array and luciferase assay. Biliary SCT/SCTR expression was increased in human NAFLD/NASH samples and in livers of HFD mice, whereas the expression of miR-125b was decreased. Biliary/hepatocyte senescence, ductular reaction, and liver angiogenesis were observed in human NAFLD/NASH samples as well as HFD mice, which were decreased in Sct-/- and Sctr-/- HFD mice. Elovl1 is a lipogenesis gene targeted by miR-125b, and its expression was also decreased in HFD mouse hepatocytes following Sct or Sctr knockout. Bile acid profile in fecal samples have the greatest changes between WT mice and Sct-/- /Sctr-/- mice. CONCLUSION: The biliary SCT/SCTR/miR-125b axis promotes liver steatosis by upregulating lipid biosynthesis gene Elovl1. Targeting the biliary SCT/SCTR/miR-125b axis may be key for ameliorating phenotypes of human NAFLD/NASH.

published proceedings

  • Hepatology

altmetric score

  • 19

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, L., Wu, N., Kennedy, L., Francis, H., Ceci, L., Zhou, T., ... Alpini, G.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Chen, Lixian||Wu, Nan||Kennedy, Lindsey||Francis, Heather||Ceci, Ludovica||Zhou, Tianhao||Samala, Niharika||Kyritsi, Konstantina||Wu, Chaodong||Sybenga, Amelia||Ekser, Burcin||Dar, Wasim||Atkins, Constance||Meadows, Vik||Glaser, Shannon||Alpini, Gianfranco

publication date

  • April 2021