Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease. Inflammatory pathways contribute to disease pathogenesis; however, regulation of the underlying mechanism is not completely understood. IL-1β, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, participates in the development and progression of NAFLD. To become bioactive, IL-1β requires enzymatic processing. Mechanisms that activate IL-1β include the classical NLRP3 inflammasome-caspase-1 and the neutrophil serine proteases, neutrophil elastase, and proteinase-3. Several studies have shown that both caspase-1 and the neutrophil serine proteases are important for NAFLD development. However, it is unknown whether these pathways interact and if they have a synergistic effect in promoting NAFLD. In the present study, we developed a novel and unique mouse model by intercrossing caspase-1/11 knockout mice with neutrophil elastase/proteinase-3 double knockout mice. Subsequently, these mice were examined regarding the development of high-fat diet–induced NAFLD. Our results show that mice deficient in caspase-1, neutrophil elastase, and proteinase-3 were protected from developing diet-induced weigh gain, liver steatosis, and adipose tissue inflammation when compared with controls. We conclude that pathways that process pro-IL-1β to bioactive IL-1β play an important role in promoting the development of NAFLD and obesity-induced inflammation. Targeting these pathways could have a therapeutic potential in patients with NAFLD.
- IL-1 beta
- neutrophil serine proteases