, a bio/informatics shared resource is still "open for business" - Visit the CDS website
Nonalchoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a problem of increasing prevalence and clinical significance worldwide and is associated with increased risk of development of end stage liver disease and cirrhosis, and can be complicated by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). NAFLD is characterized by physical and molecular changes in the liver microenvironment which include an influx of inflammatory cell populations, fibrosis, changes in gene expression, and cytokine production. To better understand changes to the liver in the setting of steatosis, we used a murine model of diet induced hepatic steatosis and corroborated our results with human patient samples of NAFLD. Among the cellular changes, we identified a significant increase in hepatocellular proliferation in the setting of steatosis as compared to controls. Analysis of inflammatory cell populations revealed increased infiltration of CD11b positive myeloid and CD3 positive lymphocytic cell populations in steatotic livers compared to normal livers. Resident Kupffer cells of the liver comprise the largest percentage of these myeloid cells and appear to be responsible for important cytokine alterations impacting proliferation of cells in the liver microenvironment. Significant alterations in cytokine profiles in the plasma and liver tissue lysates from normal and steatotic mice were detected including leptin, CXCL1, CXCL2, and CXCL16 that were further shown to directly increase hepatocyte proliferation in vitro. This increased hepatocellular proliferation and turnover in the setting of steatosis may play important roles in the progression and complications of NAFLD.