Chronic alcohol consumption causes liver injury, inflammation, and fibrosis, thereby increasing morbidity and mortality. Paradoxically, modest drinking is believed to confer metabolic improvement, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we have identified a hepatoprotective brain/brown adipose tissue (BAT)/liver axis. Alcohol consumption or direct alcohol administration into the brain stimulated hypothalamic neural circuits and sympathetic nerves innervating BAT and dramatically increased BAT uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) expression and activity in a BAT-sympathetic nerve-dependent manner. BAT and beige fat oxidized fatty acids to fuel Ucp1-mediated thermogenesis, thereby inhibiting lipid trafficking into the liver. BAT also secreted several adipokines, including adiponectin, which suppressed hepatocyte injury and death. Genetic deletion of Ucp1 profoundly augmented alcohol-induced liver steatosis, injury, inflammation, and fibrosis in male and female mice. Conversely, activation of BAT and beige fat through cold exposure suppressed alcoholic liver disease development. Our results unravel an unrecognized brain alcohol-sensing/sympathetic nerve/BAT/liver axis that counteracts liver steatosis and injury.
Hong Shen, Lin Jiang, Jiandie D. Lin, M. Bishr Omary, Liangyou Rui
This file is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you have not installed and configured the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.
PDFs are designed to be printed out and read, but if you prefer to read them online, you may find it easier if you increase the view size to 125%.
Many versions of the free Acrobat Reader do not allow Save. You must instead save the PDF from the JCI Online page you downloaded it from. PC users: Right-click on the Download link and choose the option that says something like "Save Link As...". Mac users should hold the mouse button down on the link to get these same options.