International Journal Of Molecular Sciences
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is characterized as steatosis and inflammation in the liver. NLRP3 inflammasome activation is associated with NASH pathology. We hypothesized that suppressing the NLRP3 inflammasome could be effective in preventing NASH. We searched substances that could inhibit the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and identified sweroside as an NLRP3 inhibitor. We investigated whether sweroside can be applied to prevent the pathological symptoms associated with NASH in a methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) diet-induced NASH mouse model. The activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome was determined by detecting the production of caspase-1 and IL-1 from pro-caspase-1 and pro-IL-1 in primary mouse macrophages and mouse liver. In a NASH model, mice were fed an MCD diet for two weeks with daily intraperitoneal injections of sweroside. Sweroside effectively inhibited NLRP3 inflammasome activation in primary macrophages as shown by a decrease in IL-1 and caspase-1 production. In a MCD diet-induced NASH mouse model, intraperitoneal injection of sweroside significantly reduced serum aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase levels, hepatic immune cell infiltration, hepatic triglyceride accumulation, and liver fibrosis. The improvement of NASH symptoms by sweroside was accompanied with its inhibitory effects on the hepatic NLRP3 inflammasome as hepatic IL-1 and caspase-1 were decreased. Furthermore, sweroside blocked de novo synthesis of mitochondrial DNA in the liver, contributing to suppression of the NLRP3 inflammasome. These results suggest that targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome with sweroside could be beneficially employed to improve NASH symptoms.