PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39165. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039165. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Inhibition of soluble epoxide hydrolase attenuates high-fat-diet-induced hepatic steatosis by reduced systemic inflammatory status in mice.

Liu Y1, Dang H, Li D, Pang W, Hammock BD, Zhu Y.

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1Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiovascular Sciences of Education Ministry, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with obesity and considered an inflammatory disease. Soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) is a major enzyme hydrolyzing epoxyeicosatrienoic acids and attenuates their cardiovascular protective and anti-inflammatory effects. We examined whether sEH inhibition can protect against high-fat (HF)-diet-induced fatty liver in mice and the underlying mechanism. Compared with wild-type littermates, sEH-null mice showed lower diet-induced lipid accumulation in liver, as seen by Oil-red O staining and triglycerides levels. We studied the effect of sEH inhibition on diet-induced fatty liver by feeding C57BL/6 mice an HF diet for 8 weeks (short-term) or 16 weeks (long-term) and administering t-AUCB, a selective sEH inhibitor. sEH inhibition had no effect on the HF-diet-increased body and adipose tissue weight or impaired glucose tolerance but alleviated the diet-induced hepatic steatosis. Adenovirus-mediated overexpression of sEH in liver increased the level of triglycerides in liver and the hepatic inflammatory response. Surprisingly, the induced expression of sEH in liver occurred only with the long-term but not short-term HF diet, which suggests a secondary effect of HF diet on regulating sEH expression. Furthermore, sEH inhibition attenuated the HF-diet-induced increase in plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines and their mRNA upregulation in adipose tissue, which was accompanied by increased macrophage infiltration. Therefore, sEH inhibition could alleviate HF-diet-induced hepatic steatosis, which might involve its anti-inflammatory effect in adipose tissue and direct inhibition in liver. sEH may be a therapeutic target for HF-diet-induced hepatic steatosis in inhibiting systemic inflammation.