Uric acid induces fat accumulation via generation of endoplasmic reticulum stress and SREBP-1c activation in hepatocytes

Yea Jin Choi, Hyun Soo Shin, Hack Sun Choi, Joo Won Park, Inho Jo, Eok Soo Oh, Kang Yo Lee, Byung Hoon Lee, Richard J. Johnson, Duk Hee Kang

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206 Scopus citations


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is currently one of the most common types of chronic liver injury. Elevated serum uric acid is a strong predictor of the development of fatty liver as well as metabolic syndrome. Here we demonstrate that uric acid induces triglyceride accumulation by SREBP-1c activation via induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in hepatocytes. Uric acid-induced ER stress resulted in an increase of glucose-regulated protein (GRP78/94), splicing of the X-box-binding protein-1 (XBP-1), the phosphorylation of protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (PERK), and eukaryotic translation initiation factor-2α (eIF-2α) in cultured hepatocytes. Uric acid promoted hepatic lipogenesis through overexpression of the lipogenic enzyme, acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1), fatty acid synthase (FAS), and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) via activation of SREBP-1c, which was blocked by probenecid, an organic anion transport blocker in HepG2 cells and primary hepatocytes. A blocker of ER stress, tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), and an inhibitor of SREBP-1c, metformin, blocked hepatic fat accumulation, suggesting that uric acid promoted fat synthesis in hepatocytes via ER stress-induced activation of SREBP-1c. Uric acid-induced activation of NADPH oxidase preceded ER stress, which further induced mitochondrial ROS production in hepatocytes. These studies provide new insights into the mechanisms by which uric acid stimulates fat accumulation in the liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1125
Number of pages12
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

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