Although the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) from steatosis to steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis remains poorly understood, a critical role for dysregulated innate immunity has emerged. We examined the utility of ALT-100, a monoclonal antibody (mAb), in reducing NAFLD severity and progression to NASH/hepatic fibrosis. ALT-100 neutralizes eNAMPT (extracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase), a novel damage-associated molecular pattern protein (DAMP) and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) ligand. Histologic and biochemical markers were measured in liver tissues and plasma from human NAFLD subjects and NAFLD mice (streptozotocin/high-fat diet—STZ/HFD, 12 weeks). Human NAFLD subjects (n = 5) exhibited significantly increased NAMPT hepatic expression and significantly elevated plasma levels of eNAMPT, IL-6, Ang-2, and IL-1RA compared to healthy controls, with IL-6 and Ang-2 levels significantly increased in NASH non-survivors. Untreated STZ/HFD-exposed mice displayed significant increases in NAFLD activity scores, liver triglycerides, NAMPT hepatic expression, plasma cytokine levels (eNAMPT, IL-6, and TNFα), and histologic evidence of hepatocyte ballooning and hepatic fibrosis. Mice receiving the eNAMPT-neutralizing ALT-100 mAb (0.4 mg/kg/week, IP, weeks 9 to 12) exhibited marked attenuation of each index of NASH progression/severity. Thus, activation of the eNAMPT/TLR4 inflammatory pathway contributes to NAFLD severity and NASH/hepatic fibrosis. ALT-100 is potentially an effective therapeutic approach to address this unmet NAFLD need.
- damage-associated molecular pattern protein
- extracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
- toll-like receptor 4
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology