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Tyrosol attenuates NASH features by reprogramming the hepatic immune milieu

et al. Daniele Gabbia

European Journal of Pharmacology


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, and no drugs have been approved for its therapy. Among plant-derived molecules, phenolic compounds of extra virgin olive oil like tyrosol (Tyr) had demonstrated multiple beneficial actions for liver health, including the modulation of inflammation in fibrosis.

This study aims at assessing the protective effect and mechanism of Tyr in in vitro and in vivo models of NASH, with a focus on the hepatic immune microenvironment and extrahepatic manifestations. The effect of Tyr was evaluated in cellular models of NASH, obtained by co-culturing palmitic and oleic acid-treated HepG2 cells with THP1-derived M1 macrophages and LX2 cells, and in a mouse model of NASH induced by a high fructose-high fat diet combined to CCl4 treatment. In vitro Tyr reduced fatty acid (FA) accumulation in HepG2 cells and displayed a beneficial effect on LX2 activation and macrophage differentiation. 

In vivo, beside reducing steatosis and fibrosis in NASH animals, Tyr prevented inflammation, as demonstrated by the reduction of hepatic inflammatory foci, and immune cells like CD86+ macrophages (p < 0.05), CD4+ (p < 0.05) and T helper effector CD4+ FoxP3- CD62L-lymphocytes (p < 0.05). Also, the prooxidant enzyme NOX1 and the mRNA expression of TGF-β1 and IL6 (p < 0.05) were reduced by Tyr. Notably, in Tyr-treated animals, a significant increase of CD4+ FoxP3+ Treg cells (p < 0.05) was observed, involved in regenerative pathways.

Moreover, Tyr attenuated the fatigue and anxious behavior observed in NASH mice. In conclusion, Tyr effectively reduced NASH-related steatosis, fibrosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation, displaying a beneficial effect on the hepatic immune infiltrate, indicating its possible development as a therapeutic agent for NASH due to its multifaceted mechanism.


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