Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of chronic liver disease. NAFLD progresses from benign steatosis to steatohepatitis (NASH) to cirrhosis and is linked to hepatocellular carcinoma. No targeted treatment is currently approved for NAFLD/NASH. We previously showed that fat-specific protein 27 (FSP27), a lipid droplet-associated protein that controls triglyceride turnover in the hepatocyte, is required for fasting- and diet-induced triglyceride accumulation in the liver. However, silencing Fsp27 with antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) did not improve hepatosteatosis in genetic nor nutritional mouse models of obesity. Herein, we tested the therapeutic potential of ASO-Fsp27 when used in combination with the PPARα agonist fenofibrate. C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-trans-fat, high-cholesterol, high-fructose diet for eight weeks to establish NASH, then kept on diet for six additional weeks while dosed with ASOs and fenofibrate, alone or in combination. Data show that ASO-Fsp27 and fenofibrate synergize to promote resistance to diet-induced obesity and hypertriglyceridemia and to reverse hepatic steatosis, inflammation, oxidative stress, and fibrosis. This multifactorial improvement of liver disease noted when combining both drugs suggests that a course of treatment that includes both reduced FSP27 activity and activation of PPARα could provide therapeutic benefit to patients with NAFLD/NASH.
- Antisense oligonucleotide
- Antisense therapy
- Cell death-inducing DFFA-like effector C
- Fatspecific protein 27
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
- Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor