Stem Cells Dev. 2024 May 30. doi: 10.1089/scd.2024.0067. Online ahead of print.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a serious disease. There are no specific drugs for it, in part because of the lack of effective models to aid drug development. However, it has been shown that three-dimensional organoid culture systems can reproduce the organ structure and maintain the gene expression profile of the original tissue. Therefore, we aimed to construct NAFLD models from liver organoids for pharmacological and mechanism studies. We successfully observed morphological changes in normal liver tissue in mouse liver organoids with positive albumin (ALB) expression and potential for differentiation toward hepatocyte-like cells. The mRNA expression of the hepatocyte markers ALB and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha increased after liver organoid differentiation. We observed free fatty acid (FFA)-induced lipid accumulation in organoids with significant increases in alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, total bilirubin, and triglyceride levels. Moreover, FFA-induced inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and nitric oxide) and fibrosis indicators (collagen type I alpha 1 and laminin α1) were also increased. In addition, RNA sequencing results showed that the expression of key genes (NOD-like receptor family apoptosis inhibitory protein, interferon regulatory factor (IRF)3 and IRF7) involved in NAFLD metabolic abnormalities and insulin resistance in the NOD-like receptor signaling pathway was altered after FFA induction of the liver organoids. Finally, we found that JC2-11 and lanifibranor limited the FFA-induced increase in oil-red lipid droplets, liver damage, inflammation, and liver fibrosis. In conclusion, tissue structure, gene expression, and the response of mouse liver organoids to drugs can partially mimic in vivo liver tissue. Liver organoids can successfully construct NAFLD models for drug discovery research.

PMID:38814825 | DOI:10.1089/scd.2024.0067