AIM: To investigate the possible use of the multiple cytokine production modulator, Y-40138, as a novel immunotherapy in the rat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) model.
METHODS: We allocated 6-wk-old male F344 rats to choline-supplemented, L-amino acid-defined (CSAA) diet (control group), CSAA diet + Y-40138 (control + Y-40138 group), choline-deficient, L-amino acid-defined (CDAA) diet (NASH group), or CDAA diet + Y-40138 (NASH + Y-40138 group). In each group, we measured the plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, and the plasma and liver levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and interleukin-10 (IL-10). Tissue specimens of phosphate buffered saline-perfused liver were subjected to hematoxylin and eosin staining, Azan staining, Sirius red staining, and immunohistochemical staining (for Kupffer cells and TNF-α). We then extracted Kupffer cells from the collagenase-perfused livers using the Percoll gradient centrifugation method, and measured the TNF-α levels in the supernatant (in vitro TNF-α production by Kupffer cells) using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit.
RESULTS: In comparison to the NASH group, serum ALT elevation was mild, production of serum and liver TNF-α and IFN-γ was inhibited, and IL-10 production was increased in the NASH + Y-40138 group. Amelioration of liver histology was also noted in the NASH + Y-40138 group. Kupffer cell immunohistochemical staining revealed no differences between groups, whereas TNF-α immunohistochemical staining showed fewer stained cells in the NASH + Y-40138 group than in the NASH group. The TNF-α levels in the in-vitro Kupffer cell culture supernatant were lower in the NASH + Y-40138 group than in the NASH group.
CONCLUSION: Administration of Y-40138 to NASH model rats reduced hepatic inflammation and suppressed fibrosis. These results indicate that the multiple cytokine production modulator, Y-40138, is promising as a novel treatment for NASH.