Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Metab. 2006 Sep;4(3):185-98.

Mitochondrial free cholesterol loading sensitizes to TNF- and Fas-mediated steatohepatitis.

Author information

Liver Unit, Institut de Malalties Digestives, Hospital Clínic i Provincial, Instituto Investigaciones Biomédicas August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Barcelona, Spain.


The etiology of progression from steatosis to steatohepatitis (SH) remains unknown. Using nutritional and genetic models of hepatic steatosis, we show that free cholesterol (FC) loading, but not free fatty acids or triglycerides, sensitizes to TNF- and Fas-induced SH. FC distribution in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and plasma membrane did not cause ER stress or alter TNF signaling. Rather, mitochondrial FC loading accounted for the hepatocellular sensitivity to TNF due to mitochondrial glutathione (mGSH) depletion. Selective mGSH depletion in primary hepatocytes recapitulated the susceptibility to TNF and Fas seen in FC-loaded hepatocytes; its repletion rescued FC-loaded livers from TNF-mediated SH. Moreover, hepatocytes from mice lacking NPC1, a late endosomal cholesterol trafficking protein, or from obese ob/ob mice, exhibited mitochondrial FC accumulation, mGSH depletion, and susceptibility to TNF. Thus, we propose a critical role for mitochondrial FC loading in precipitating SH, by sensitizing hepatocytes to TNF and Fas through mGSH depletion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center