To identify genetic and environmental factors contributing to the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, we examined liver steatosis and related clinical and molecular traits in more than 100 unique inbred mouse strains which were fed a diet rich in fat and carbohydrates. A >30-fold variation in hepatic TG accumulation was observed among the strains. Genome wide association studies revealed three loci associated with hepatic TG accumulation. Utilizing transcriptomic data from the liver and adipose tissue, we identified several high-confidence candidate genes for hepatic steatosis, including Gde1, a glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase not previously implicated in triglyceride metabolism. We confirmed the role of Gde1 by in vivo hepatic over-expression and shRNA knockdown studies. We hypothesize that Gde1 expression increases TG production by contributing to the production of glycerol-3-phosphate. Our multi-level data, including transcript levels, metabolite levels, and gut microbiota composition, provide a framework for understanding genetic and environmental interactions underlying hepatic steatosis.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#92-169) of the University of California at Los Angeles.
- Christopher Glass, University of California, San Diego, United States
© 2015, Hui et al.
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