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      Phoenixin 14 Inhibits High-Fat Diet-Induced Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Experimental Mice

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          Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common chronic liver diseases. The development of NAFLD is closely associated with hepatic lipotoxicity, inflammation, and oxidative stress. The new concept of NAFLD treatment is to seek molecular control of lipid metabolism and hepatic redox hemostasis. Phoenixin is a newly identified neuropeptide with pleiotropic effects. This study investigated the effects of phoenixin 14 against high-fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFLD in mice.

          Materials and Methods

          For this study, we used HFD-induced NAFLD mice models to analyze the effect of phonenixin14. The mice were fed on HFD and normal diet and also given phoenixin 14 (100 ng/g body weight) by gastrogavage for 10 weeks. The peripheral blood samples were collected for biochemical assays. The liver tissues were examined for HFD-induced tissue fibrosis, lipid deposition and oxidative activity including SOD, GSH, and MDA. The liver tissues were analyzed for the inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress pathway genes.


          The results indicate that phoenixin 14 significantly ameliorated HFD-induced obesity and fatty liver. The biochemical analysis of blood samples revealed that phoenixin 14 ameliorated HFD-induced elevated circulating alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, suggesting that phoenixin 14 has a protective role in liver function and lipid metabolism. Hematoxylin-eosin (HE) and Oil Red O staining of the liver showed that phoenixin 14 alleviated HFD-induced tissue damage and lipid deposition in the liver. Furthermore, the mice administered with phoenixin 14 had increased hepatic SOD activity, increased production of GSH and reduced MDA activity, as well as reduced production of TNF-α and IL-6 suggesting that phoenixin 14 exerts beneficial effects against inflammation and ROS. The findings suggest an explanation of how mechanistically phoenixin 14 ameliorated HFD-induced reduced activation of the SIRT1/AMPK and NRF2/HO-1 pathways.


          Collectively, this study revealed that phoenixin 14 exerts a protective effect in experimental NAFLD mice. Phoenixin could be of the interest in preventive modulation of NAFLD.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: role of AMPK.

          Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a growing worldwide epidemic and an important risk factor for the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and hepatic cellular carcinoma (HCC). Despite the prevalence of NAFLD, lifestyle interventions involving exercise and weight loss are the only accepted treatments for this disease. Over the last decade, numerous experimental compounds have been shown to improve NAFLD in preclinical animal models, and many of these therapeutics have been shown to increase the activity of the cellular energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Because AMPK activity is reduced by inflammation, obesity, and diabetes, increasing AMPK activity has been viewed as a viable therapeutic strategy to improve NAFLD. In this review, we propose three primary mechanisms by which AMPK activation may improve NAFLD. In addition, we examine the mechanisms by which AMPK is activated. Finally, we identify 27 studies that have used AMPK activators to reduce NAFLD. Future considerations for studies examining the relationship between AMPK and NAFLD are highlighted.
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            SIRT1 regulates hepatocyte lipid metabolism through activating AMP-activated protein kinase.

            Resveratrol may protect against metabolic disease through activating SIRT1 deacetylase. Because we have recently defined AMPK activation as a key mechanism for the beneficial effects of polyphenols on hepatic lipid accumulation, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis in type 1 diabetic mice, we hypothesize that polyphenol-activated SIRT1 acts upstream of AMPK signaling and hepatocellular lipid metabolism. Here we show that polyphenols, including resveratrol and the synthetic polyphenol S17834, increase SIRT1 deacetylase activity, LKB1 phosphorylation at Ser(428), and AMPK activity. Polyphenols substantially prevent the impairment in phosphorylation of AMPK and its downstream target, ACC (acetyl-CoA carboxylase), elevation in expression of FAS (fatty acid synthase), and lipid accumulation in human HepG2 hepatocytes exposed to high glucose. These effects of polyphenols are largely abolished by pharmacological and genetic inhibition of SIRT1, suggesting that the stimulation of AMPK and lipid-lowering effect of polyphenols depend on SIRT1 activity. Furthermore, adenoviral overexpression of SIRT1 stimulates the basal AMPK signaling in HepG2 cells and in the mouse liver. AMPK activation by SIRT1 also protects against FAS induction and lipid accumulation caused by high glucose. Moreover, LKB1, but not CaMKKbeta, is required for activation of AMPK by polyphenols and SIRT1. These findings suggest that SIRT1 functions as a novel upstream regulator for LKB1/AMPK signaling and plays an essential role in the regulation of hepatocyte lipid metabolism. Targeting SIRT1/LKB1/AMPK signaling by polyphenols may have potential therapeutic implications for dyslipidemia and accelerated atherosclerosis in diabetes and age-related diseases.
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              The crosstalk between Nrf2 and AMPK signal pathways is important for the anti-inflammatory effect of berberine in LPS-stimulated macrophages and endotoxin-shocked mice.

              The response of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) to oxidative stress has been recently reported but the downstream signals of this response are largely unknown. Meanwhile, the upstream events for the activation of nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor-2 (Nrf2), a critical transcriptional activator for antioxidative responses, remain unclear. In the present study, we investigated the relationship between AMPK and Nrf2 signal pathways in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-triggered inflammatory system, in which berberine (BBR), a known AMPK activator, was used for inflammation suppression. In inflammatory macrophages, BBR attenuated LPS-induced expression of inflammatory genes (inducible nitric oxide synthase [iNOS], cyclooxygenase-2 [COX2], interleukin [IL]-6), and the generation of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species, but increased the transcription of Nrf2-targeted antioxidative genes (NADPH quinone oxidoreductase-1 [NQO-1], heme oxygenase-1 [HO-1]), as well as the nuclear localization and phosphorylation of Nrf2 protein. Importantly, we found BBR-induced activation of Nrf2 is AMPK-dependent, as either pharmacologically or genetically inactivating AMPK blocked the activation of Nrf2. Consistent with in vitro experiments, BBR down-regulated the expression of proinflammatory genes but upregulated those of Nrf2-targeted genes in lungs of LPS-injected mice, and these effects were attenuated in Nrf2-deficient mice. Moreover, the effect of BBR on survival time extension and plasma redox regulation in endotoxin-shocked mice was largely weakened when Nrf2-depleted. Our results demonstrate convergence between AMPK and Nrf2 pathways and this intersection is essential for anti-inflammatory effect of BBR in LPS-stimulated macrophages and endotoxin-shocked mice. Uncovering this intersection is significant for understanding the relationship between energy homeostasis and antioxidative responses and may be beneficial for developing new therapeutic strategies against inflammatory diseases. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 574-588.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                22 September 2020
                : 14
                : 3865-3874
                [1 ]Department of Endocrinology, Guilin People’s Hospital , Guilin, Guangxi 541002, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Ultrasonography, Guilin People’s Hospital , Guilin, Guangxi 541002, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Department of Ministry of Health Care, Guilin People’s Hospital , Guilin, Guangxi 541002, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Fan Yang Department of Endocrinology, Guilin People’s Hospital , No. 12, Wenming Road, Guilin, Guangxi541002, People’s Republic of China Tel/Fax +86-773-2821218 Email fanyang823@163.com
                © 2020 Yang et al.

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                Page count
                Figures: 8, References: 35, Pages: 10
                Original Research


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