European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 1891–1900 | Cite as

High-fat diet inhibits PGC-1α suppressive effect on NFκB signaling in hepatocytes

  • Wermerson Assunção Barroso
  • Vanessa Jacob Victorino
  • Isabela Casagrande Jeremias
  • Ricardo Costa Petroni
  • Suely Kunimi Kubo Ariga
  • Thiago A Salles
  • Denise Frediani Barbeiro
  • Thais Martins de Lima
  • Heraldo Possolo de Souza
Original Contribution



The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha (PGC-1α) regulates the expression of genes implicated in fatty acid oxidation and oxidative phosphorylation. Its role in liver steatosis is well established, since mice with liver-specific deletion of PGC-1α exhibit lipid accumulation and high-fat diet reduces hepatic PGC-1α expression in mice. In this study, we investigated the role of PGC-1α in the inflammatory changes observed in steatohepatitis induced by high-fat diet.


C57black/6 mice were fed a high-fat diet containing 30% fat for 10 weeks. After euthanasia, liver morphology was examined by HE staining and inflammation was determined by IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-1β quantification. Liver gene expression of PGC-1 isoforms was evaluated by real-time PCR and p65 NFκB nuclear translocation by Western blotting. HepG2 cells were treated with linoleic acid overload for 72 h to create an in vitro model of steatohepatitis. RNA interference (RNAi) was used to evaluate the involvement of PGC-1α on inflammatory mediators’ production by hepatocytes.


The high-fat diet led to a state of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, associated with increased deposits of intra-abdominal fat, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia. Mice liver also exhibited increased proinflammatory cytokines’ levels, decreased PGC-1α expression, and marked increase in p65 NFκB nuclear translocation. Linoleic acid treated cells also presented increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and decreased PGC-1α expression. The knockdown of PGC-1α content caused an increase in IL-6 expression and release via enhanced IκBα phosphorylation and subsequent increase of p65 NFκB nuclear translocation.


High-fat diet induces liver inflammation by inhibiting PGC-1α expression and its suppressive effect in NFκB pathway.


PGC-1α Steatosis Inflammation Hepatocytes Interleukin-6 NF-κB 


Author contributions

Design and conduct of the study: WAB, TAS, TML, HPS. Data collection and analysis: WAB, VJV, ICJ, RCP, SKA, DFB. Data interpretation: WAB, TAS, TML, HPS. Manuscript writing: WAB, TAS, TML, HPS.

Compliance with ethical standards


This work was supported by grants from Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP 2012/07957-6).

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, are declared by the author(s).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wermerson Assunção Barroso
    • 1
  • Vanessa Jacob Victorino
    • 1
  • Isabela Casagrande Jeremias
    • 1
  • Ricardo Costa Petroni
    • 1
  • Suely Kunimi Kubo Ariga
    • 1
  • Thiago A Salles
    • 2
  • Denise Frediani Barbeiro
    • 1
  • Thais Martins de Lima
    • 1
  • Heraldo Possolo de Souza
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Medicine, Medical School, Emergency Medicine Laboratory (LIM51)University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Heart Institute (InCor)University of Sao Paulo Medical SchoolSão PauloBrazil

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