Genetic Resistance to Liver Fibrosis on A/J Mouse Chromosome 17


Reprint requests: Colleen M. Croniger, PhD, Department of Nutrition, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106; Tel.: 216-368-4967; Fax: 216-368-6644; E-mail:



Because the histological and biochemical progression of liver disease is similar in alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), we hypothesized that the genetic susceptibility to these liver diseases would be similar. To identify potential candidate genes that regulate the development of liver fibrosis, we studied a chromosome substitution strain (CSS-17) that contains chromosome 17 from the A/J inbred strain substituted for the corresponding chromosome on the C57BL/6J (B6) genetic background. Previously, we identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in CSS-17, namely obesity-resistant QTL 13 and QTL 15 (Obrq13 and Obrq15, respectively), that were associated with protection from diet-induced obesity and hepatic steatosis on a high-fat diet.


To test whether these or other CSS-17 QTLs conferred resistance to alcohol-induced liver injury and fibrosis, B6, A/J, CSS-17, and congenics 17C-1 and 17C-6 were either fed Lieber–DeCarli ethanol (EtOH)-containing diet or had carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) administered chronically.


The congenic strain carrying Obrq15 showed resistance from alcohol-induced liver injury and liver fibrosis, whereas Obrq13 conferred susceptibility to liver fibrosis. From published deep sequencing data for chromosome 17 in the B6 and A/J strains, we identified candidate genes in Obrq13 and Obrq15 that contained single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region or within the gene itself. NADPH oxidase organizer 1 (Noxo1) and NLR family, CARD domain containing 4 (Nlrc4) showed altered hepatic gene expression in strains with the A/J allele at the end of the EtOH diet study and after CCl4 treatment.


Aspects of the genetics for the progression of ASH are unique compared to NASH, suggesting that the molecular mechanisms for the progression of disease are at least partially distinct. Using these CSSs, we identified 2 candidate genes, Noxo1 and Nlrc4, which modulate genetic susceptibility in ASH.