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Am J Pathol. 2008 Oct;173(4):993-1001. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2008.070720. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Prevention of hepatic fibrosis in a murine model of metabolic syndrome with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

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Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases and the Research Center for Liver Diseases, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


The endocannabinoid pathway plays an important role in the regulation of appetite and body weight, hepatic lipid metabolism, and fibrosis. Blockade of the endocannabinoid receptor CB1 with SR141716 promotes weight loss, reduces hepatocyte fatty acid synthesis, and is antifibrotic. D-4F, an apolipoprotein A-1 mimetic with antioxidant properties, is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of atherosclerosis. C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat diet for 7 months, followed by a 2.5-month treatment with either SR141716 or D-4F. SR141716 markedly improved body weight, liver weight, serum transaminases, insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, hyperleptinemia, and oxidative stress, accompanied by the significant prevention of fibrosis progression. D-4F improved hypercholesterolemia and hyperleptinemia without improvement in body weight, steatohepatitis, insulin resistance, or oxidative stress, and yet, there was significant prevention of fibrosis. D-4F prevented culture-induced activation of stellate cells in vitro. In summary, C57BL/6J mice given a high-fat diet developed features of metabolic syndrome with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and fibrosis. Both SR141716 and D-4F prevented progression of fibrosis after onset of steatohepatitis, ie, a situation comparable to a common clinical scenario, with D-4F seeming to have a more general antifibrotic effect. Either compound therefore has the potential to be of clinical benefit.

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