Lack of ClC-2 Alleviates High Fat Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018; 45(6):2187-2198.CP
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease. This study aims to investigate whether chloride channel 2 (ClC-2) is involved in high fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFLD and possible molecular mechanisms.
ClC-2 expression was liver-specifically downregulated using adeno-associated virus in C57BL/6 mice treated with a chow diet or HFD for 12 weeks. Peripheral blood and liver tissues were collected for biochemical and pathological estimation respectively. Western blotting was applied to detect the protein expressions of lipid synthesis-related enzymes and the phosphorylated level of IRS-1, Akt and mTOR.
ClC-2 mRNA level was significantly increased in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which positively correlated with the plasma levels of alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST) and insulin. Knockdown of ClC-2 in liver attenuated HFD-induced weight gain, obesity, hepatocellular ballooning, and liver lipid accumulation and fibrosis, accompanied by reduced plasma free fatty acid (FFA), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), ALT, AST, glucose and insulin levels and homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) value. Moreover, HFD-treated mice lacking ClC-2 showed inhibited hepatic lipid accumulation via regulating lipid metabolism through decreasing sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP)-1c expression and its downstream targeting enzymes such as fatty acid synthase (FAS), HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR) and acetyl-Coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCα). In addition, in vivo and in vitro results demonstrated that ClC-2 downregulation in HFD-treated mice or HepG2 cells increased the sensitivity to insulin via activation of IRS-1/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway.
Our present study reveals a critical role of ClC-2 in regulating metabolic diseases. Mice lacking ClC-2 are associated with a remarkably beneficial metabolic phenotype, suggesting that decreasing ClC-2 may be an attractive therapeutic strategy for the treatment of NAFLD.