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Keywords:

  • alcoholic liver disease;
  • ceramides;
  • endoplasmic reticulum stress;
  • experimental model;
  • insulin resistance;
  • peroxisome-proliferator activated receptor agonists;
  • steatohepatitis

Abstract

Background and Aim

Chronic alcoholic liver disease is associated with hepatic insulin resistance, dysregulated lipid metabolism with increased toxic lipid (ceramide) accumulation, lipid peroxidation, and oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Peroxisome-proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) agonists are insulin sensitizers that can restore hepatic insulin responsiveness in both alcohol and non-alcohol-related steatohepatitis. Herein, we demonstrate that treatment with a PPAR-δ agonist enhances insulin signaling and reduces the severities of ER stress and ceramide accumulation in an experimental model of ethanol-induced steatohepatitis.

Methods

Adult male Long Evans rats were pair fed with isocaloric liquid diets containing 0% or 37% ethanol (caloric) for 8 weeks. After 3 weeks on the diets, rats were treated with vehicle or PPAR-δ agonist twice weekly by i.p. injection.

Results

Ethanol-fed rats developed steatohepatitis with inhibition of signaling through the insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptors, and Akt activated pathways. Despite continued ethanol exposure, PPAR-δ agonist co-treatments increased Akt activation, reduced multiple molecular indices of ER stress and steatohepatitis.

Conclusions

These results suggest that PPAR-δ agonist rescue of chronic alcoholic liver disease is mediated by enhancement of insulin signaling through Akt/metabolic pathways that reduce lipotoxicity and ER stress.