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Ablation of catalase promotes non-alcoholic fatty liver via oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in diet-induced obese mice

  • Shin, Su-Kyung1
  • Cho, Hyun-Woo1
  • Song, Seung-Eun1
  • Bae, Jae-Hoon1
  • Im, Seung-Soon1
  • Hwang, Inha2
  • Ha, Hunjoo2
  • Song, Dae-Kyu1
  • 1 Keimyung University School of Medicine, Department of Physiology & Obesity-mediated Disease Research Center, 1095 Dalgubeoldae-Ro, Dalseo-Gu, Daegu, 42601, South Korea , Daegu (South Korea)
  • 2 Ewha Women’s University, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul, 03760, South Korea , Seoul (South Korea)
Published Article
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology
Publication Date
Jan 07, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s00424-018-02250-3
Springer Nature


Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) produced endogenously can cause mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic complications in various cell types by inducing oxidative stress. In the liver, oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress affects the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although a link between both stresses and fatty liver diseases has been suggested, few studies have investigated the involvement of catalase in fatty liver pathogenesis. We examined whether catalase is associated with NAFLD, using catalase knockout (CKO) mice and the catalase-deficient human hepatoma cell line HepG2. Hepatic morphology analysis revealed that the fat accumulation was more prominent in high-fat diet (HFD) CKO mice compared to that in age-matched wild-type (WT) mice, and lipid peroxidation and H2O2 release were significantly elevated in CKO mice. Transmission electron micrographs indicated that the liver mitochondria from CKO mice tended to be more severely damaged than those in WT mice. Likewise, mitochondrial DNA copy number and cellular ATP concentrations were significantly lower in CKO mice. In fatty acid-treated HepG2 cells, knockdown of catalase accelerated cellular lipid accumulation and depressed mitochondrial biogenesis, which was recovered by co-treatment with N-acetyl cysteine or melatonin. This effect of antioxidant was also true in HFD-fed CKO mice, suppressing fatty liver development and improving hepatic mitochondrial function. Expression of ER stress marker proteins and hepatic fat deposition also increased in normal-diet, aged CKO mice compared to WT mice. These findings suggest that H2O2 production may be an important event triggering NAFLD and that catalase may be an attractive therapeutic target for preventing NAFLD.

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