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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Apr 15;302(8):G762-72. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00476.2011. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonism improves metabolic, biochemical, and histopathological indices of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in mice.

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Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


These preclinical studies aimed to 1) increase our understanding the dietary induction of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and, 2) further explore the utility and mechanisms of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonism in NASH. We compared the effects of a high trans-fat (HTF) or high lard fat (HLF) diet on key facets of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)/NASH in Lep(ob)/Lep(ob) and C57BL6J (B6) mice. Although HLF-fed mice experienced overall greater gains in weight and adiposity, the addition of trans-fat better mirrored pathophysiological features of NASH (e.g., hepatomegaly, hepatic lipid, and fibrosis). Administration of AC3174, an exenatide analog, and GLP-1R agonist to Lep(ob)/Lep(ob) and B6 ameliorated hepatic endpoints in both dietary models. Next, we assessed whether AC3174-mediated improvements in diet-induced NASH were solely due to weight loss in HTF-fed mice. AC3174-treatment significantly reduced body weight (8.3%), liver mass (14.2%), liver lipid (12.9%), plasma alanine aminotransferase, and triglycerides, whereas a calorie-restricted, weight-matched group demonstrated only modest nonsignificant reductions in liver mass (9%) and liver lipid (5.1%) relative to controls. Treatment of GLP-1R-deficient (GLP-1RKO) mice with AC3174 had no effect on body weight, adiposity, liver or plasma indices pointing to the GLP-1R-dependence of AC3174's effects. Interestingly, the role of endogenous GLP-1Rs in NASH merits further exploration as the GLP-1RKO model was protected from the deleterious hepatic effects of HTF. Our pharmacological data further support the clinical evaluation of the utility of GLP-1R agonists for treatment of NASH.

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