American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology

The kielin/chordin-like protein KCP attenuates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice.

PMID 27514479


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common cause of chronic liver disease and is increasing with the rising rate of obesity in the developed world. Signaling pathways known to influence the rate of lipid deposition in liver, known as hepatic steatosis, include the transforming growth factor (TGF) superfamily, which function through the SMAD second messengers. The kielin/chordin-like protein (KCP) is a large secreted protein that can enhance bone morphogenetic protein signaling while suppressing TGF-β signaling in cells and in genetically modified mice. In this report, we show that aging KCP mutant (Kcp(-/-)) mice are increasingly susceptible to developing hepatic steatosis and liver fibrosis. When young mice are put on a high-fat diet, Kcp(-/-) mice are also more susceptible to developing liver pathology, compared with their wild-type littermates. Furthermore, mice that express a Pepck-KCP transgene (Kcp(Tg)) in the liver are resistant to developing liver pathology even when fed a high-fat diet. Analyses of liver tissues reveal a significant reduction of P-Smad3, consistent with a role for KCP in suppressing TGF-β signaling. Transcriptome analyses show that livers from Kcp(-/-) mice fed a normal diet are more like wild-type livers from mice fed a high-fat diet. However, the KCP transgene can suppress many of the changes in liver gene expression that are due to a high-fat diet. These data demonstrate that shifting the TGF-β signaling paradigm with the secreted regulatory protein KCP can significantly alter the liver pathology in aging mice and in diet-induced NAFLD.

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