Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition attenuates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in diet-induced obese mice

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Abstract

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease. NAFLD begins with excessive lipid accumulation in the liver and progresses to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis. NAFLD is closely linked to dysregulated hepatic lipid metabolism. Although recent studies have reported that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling regulates lipid metabolism, the roles of EGFR and EGFR inhibitors as modulators of lipid metabolism are largely unknown. Here, we investigated whether inhibiting EGFR using the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) PD153035 improves NAFLD. Our results demonstrate that EGFR was activated in liver tissues from high fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFLD mice. Inhibiting EGFR using PD153035 significantly reduced phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/protein kinase B signaling and sterol responsive elementary binding protein 1 and 2 expression, which prevented HFD-induced hepatic steatosis and hypercholesterolemia by reducing de novo lipogenesis and cholesterol synthesis and enhancing fatty acid oxidation. Additionally, inhibiting EGFR improved HFD-induced glucose intolerance. In conclusion, these results indicate that EGFR plays an important role in NAFLD and is a potential therapeutic target.

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Choung, S., Kim, J. M., Joung, K. H., Lee, E. S., Kim, H. J., & Ku, B. J. (2019). Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition attenuates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in diet-induced obese mice. PLoS ONE, 14(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210828

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