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Int J Exp Pathol. 2017 Sep 12. doi: 10.1111/iep.12240. [Epub ahead of print]

Hepatocellular carcinoma in a mouse model fed a choline-deficient, L-amino acid-defined, high-fat diet.

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Chugai Research Institute for Medical Science, Inc., Gotemba, Japan.
Fuji-Gotemba Research Laboratories, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Gotemba, Japan.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cancer worldwide and represents the outcome of the natural history of chronic liver disease. The growing rates of HCC may be partially attributable to increased numbers of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). However, details of the liver-specific molecular mechanisms responsible for the NAFLD-NASH-HCC progression remain unclear, and mouse models that can be used to explore the exact factors that influence the progression of NAFLD/NASH to the more chronic stages of liver disease and subsequent HCC are not yet fully established. We have previously reported a choline-deficient, L-amino acid-defined, high-fat diet (CDAHFD) as a dietary NASH model with rapidly progressive liver fibrosis in mice. The current study in C57BL/6J mice fed CDAHFD provided evidence for the chronic persistence of advanced hepatic fibrosis in NASH and disease progression towards HCC in a period of 36 weeks. When mice fed CDAHFD were switched back to a standard diet, hepatic steatosis was normalized and NAFLD activity score improved, but HCC incidence increased and the phenotype of fibrosis-associated HCC development was observed. Moreover, when mice continued to be fed CDAHFD for 60 weeks, HCC further developed without severe body weight loss or carcinogenesis in other organs. The autochthonous tumours showed a variety of histological features and architectural patterns including trabecular, pseudoglandular and solid growth. The CDAHFD mouse model might be a useful tool for studying the development of HCC from NAFLD/NASH, and potentially useful for better understanding pathological changes during hepatocarcinogenesis.


choline deficiency; fibrosis; hepatocarcinogenesis; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; spontaneous liver tumour model

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