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Oxidative stress underlies the etiopathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Heme Oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a potent endogenous antioxidant gene that plays a key role in decreasing oxidative stress. Sirtuin1 (SIRT1) belongs to the family of NAD-dependent de-acyetylases and is modulated by cellular redox.


We hypothesize that fructose-induced obesity creates an inflammatory and oxidative environment conducive to the development of NAFLD and metabolic syndrome. The aim of this study is to determine whether HO-1 acts through SIRT1 to form a functional module within hepatocytes to attenuate steatohepatitis, hepatic fibrosis and cardiovascular dysfunction.

Methods and Results

We examined the effect of fructose, on hepatocyte lipid accumulation and fibrosis in murine hepatocytes and in mice fed a high fructose diet in the presence and absence of CoPP, an inducer of HO-1, and SnMP, an inhibitor of HO activity. Fructose increased oxidative stress markers and decreased HO-1 and SIRT1 levels in hepatocytes (p<0.05). Further fructose supplementation increased FAS, PPARα, pAMPK and triglycerides levels; CoPP negated this increase. Concurrent treatment with CoPP and SIRT1 siRNA in hepatocytes increased FAS, PPARα, pAMPK and triglycerides levels suggesting that HO-1 is upstream of SIRT1 and suppression of SIRT1 attenuates the beneficial effects of HO-1. A high fructose diet increased insulin resistance, blood pressure, markers of oxidative stress and lipogenesis along with fibrotic markers in mice (p<0.05). Increased levels of HO-1 increased SIRT1 levels and ameliorated fructose-mediated lipid accumulation and fibrosis in liver along with decreasing vascular dysfunction (p<0.05 vs. fructose). These beneficial effects of CoPP were reversed by SnMP.


Taken together, our study demonstrates, for the first time, that HO-1 induction attenuates fructose-induced hepatic lipid deposition, prevents the development of hepatic fibrosis and abates NAFLD-associated vascular dysfunction; effects that are mediated by activation of SIRT1 gene expression.


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Copyright © 2015 Sodhi et al.

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