Genetic polymorphisms that impair very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) secretion are linked to hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and hepatocellular cancer. Liver-specific deletion of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (Mttp-LKO) impairs VLDL assembly, promoting hepatic steatosis and fibrosis, which are attenuated in Mttp-LKO X Fabp1–null [Fabp1/Mttp double knockout (DKO)] mice. The current study examined the impact of impaired VLDL secretion in Mttp-LKO mice on hepatocellular cancer incidence and progression in comparison to Fabp1/Mttp DKO mice. Diethylnitrosamine-treated Mttp-LKO mice exhibited steatosis with increased tumor burden compared with flox controls, whereas diethylnitrosamine-treated Fabp1/Mttp DKO mice exhibited a paradoxical increase in tumor burden and >50% mortality by 50 weeks. Serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was elevated in both Mttp-LKO and Fabp1/Mttp DKO mice, with increased intratumoral expression of apolipoprotein A1 and apolipoprotein E. Lipidomic surveys revealed progressive enrichment in distinct triglyceride species in livers from Mttp-LKO mice with further enrichment in Fabp1/Mttp DKO mice. RNA sequencing revealed mRNA changes suggesting altered monocarboxylic acid use and increased aerobic glycolysis, whereas hepatocytes from Fabp1/Mttp DKO mice exhibited increased capacity to use glucose and glutamine. These metabolic shifts were accompanied by reduced expression of HNF1 homeobox A (HNF1a), which correlated with tumor burden. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that hepatic tumorigenesis is increased in mice with impaired VLDL secretion and further accelerated via pathways including altered fatty acid compartmentalization and shifts in hepatic energy use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-974
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024


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