Bariatric surgery improves nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. We evaluated the potential role of ghrelin isoforms in the amelioration of hepatic inflammation after sleeve gastrectomy and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB).
Plasma ghrelin isoforms were measured in male Wistar rats (n¿=¿129) subjected to surgical (sham operation, sleeve gastrectomy, or RYGB) or dietary interventions [fed ad libitum a normal (ND) or a high-fat diet (HFD) or pair-fed diet]. The effect of acylated and desacyl ghrelin on markers of inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in primary rat hepatocytes under palmitate-induced lipotoxic conditions was assessed.
Plasma desacyl ghrelin was decreased after sleeve gastrectomy and RYGB, whereas the acylated/desacyl ghrelin ratio was augmented. Both surgeries diminished obesity-associated hepatic steatosis, CD68+- and apoptotic cells, proinflammatory JNK activation, and Crp, Tnf, and Il6 transcripts. Moreover, a postsurgical amelioration in the mitochondrial DNA content, oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes I and II, and ER stress markers was observed. Specifically, following bariatric surgery GRP78, spliced XBP-1, ATF4, and CHOP levels were reduced, as were phosphorylated eIF2¿. Interestingly, acylated and desacyl ghrelin inhibited steatosis and inflammation of palmitate-treated hepatocytes in parallel to an upregulation of OXPHOS complexes II, III, and V, and a downregulation of ER stress transducers IRE1¿, PERK, ATF6, their downstream effectors, ATF4 and CHOP, as well as chaperone GRP78.
Our data suggest that the increased relative acylated ghrelin levels after bariatric surgery might contribute to mitigate obesity-associated hepatic inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and ER stress.