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Journal of hepatology

Decreased expression of the glucocorticoid receptor-GILZ pathway in Kupffer cells promotes liver inflammation in obese mice.


PMID 26639395

Abstract

Kupffer cells (KC) play a key role in the onset of inflammation in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) induces glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) expression in monocytes/macrophages and is involved in several inflammatory processes. We hypothesized that the GR-GILZ axis in KC may contribute to the pathophysiology of obesity-induced liver inflammation. By using a combination of primary cell culture, pharmacological experiments, mice deficient for the Gr specifically in macrophages and transgenic mice overexpressing Gilz in macrophages, we explored the involvement of the Gr-Gilz axis in KC in the pathophysiology of obesity-induced liver inflammation. Obesity was associated with a downregulation of the Gr and Gilz, and an impairment of Gilz induction by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and dexamethasone (DEX) in KC. Inhibition of Gilz expression in isolated KC transfected with Gilz siRNA demonstrated that Gilz downregulation was sufficient to sensitize KC to LPS. Conversely, liver inflammation was decreased in obese transgenic mice specifically overexpressing Gilz in macrophages. Pharmacological inhibition of the Gr showed that impairment of Gilz induction in KC by LPS and DEX in obesity was driven by a downregulation of the Gr. In mice specifically deficient for Gr in macrophages, Gilz expression was low, leading to an exacerbation of obesity-induced liver inflammation. Obesity is associated with a downregulation of the Gr-Gilz axis in KC, which promotes liver inflammation. The Gr-Gilz axis in KC is an important target for the regulation of liver inflammation in obesity.