Furuya, S.; Cichocki, J. A.; Konganti, K.; Dreval, K.; Uehara, T.; Katou, Y.; Fukushima, H.; Kono, H.; Pogribny, I. P.; Argemí Ballbé, José María
; Bataller, R.; Rusyn, I.
Human alcoholic hepatitis (AH) carries a high mortality rate. AH is an acute-on-chronic form of liver injury characterized by hepatic steatosis, ballooned hepatocytes, neutrophil infiltration, and pericellular fibrosis. We aimed to study the pathogenesis of AH in an animal model which combines chronic hepatic fibrosis with intragastric alcohol administration. Adult male C57BL6/J mice were treated with CCl4 (0.2 ml/kg, 2×weekly by intraperitoneal injections for 6 weeks) to induce chronic liver fibrosis. Then, ethyl alcohol (up to 25 g/kg/day for 3 weeks) was administered continuously to mice via a gastric feeding tube, with or without one-half dose of CCl4. Liver and serum markers and liver transcriptome were evaluated to characterize acute-on-chronic-alcoholic liver disease in our model. CCl4 or alcohol treatment alone induced liver fibrosis or steatohepatitis, respectively, findings that were consistent with expected pathology. Combined treatment resulted in a marked exacerbation of liver injury, as evident by the development of inflammation, steatosis, and pericellular fibrosis, pathological features of human AH. E. coli and Candida were also detected in livers of mice cotreated with CCl4 and alcohol, indicating pathogen translocation from gut to liver, similar to human AH. Importantly, liver transcriptomic changes specific to combined treatment group demonstrated close concordance with pathways perturbed in patients with severe AH. ...