Dectin-1 plays a deleterious role in high fat diet-induced NAFLD of mice through enhancing macrophage activation

Min-xiu Wang1, Wu Luo1,2, Lin Ye1, Lei-ming Jin1, Bin Yang1, Qian-hui Zhang1, Jian-chang Qian1, Yi Wang1, Yi Zhang3, Guang Liang1,3
1 Chemical Biology Research Center, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, China
2 Medical Research Center, the First Affiliated Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, China
3 School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hangzhou Medical College, Hangzhou 311399, China
Correspondence to: Guang Liang:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-022-00926-2
Received: 2 March 2022
Accepted: 24 May 2022
Advance online: 10 June 2022


The innate immune response and inflammation contribute to hepatic steatosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Dectin-1 is a pathogen recognition receptor in innate immunity. In this study, we investigated the role of Dectin-1 in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. We first showed that Dectin-1 expression was significantly elevated in liver tissues of patients with NASH. NAFLD was induced in mice by feeding high fat diet (HFD) for 24 weeks. At the end of treatment, mice were sacrificed, and their blood and liver tissues were collected for analyses. We showed HFD feeding also increased liver Dectin-1 levels in mice, associated with macrophage infiltration. Either gene knockout or co-administration of a Dectin-1 antagonist laminarin (150 mg/kg twice a day, ip, from 16th week to 24th week) largely protected the livers from HFD-induced lipid accumulation, fibrosis, and elaboration of inflammatory responses. In primary mouse peritoneal macrophages (MPMs), challenge with palmitate (PA, 200 μM), an abundant saturated fatty acid found in NAFLD, significantly activated Dectin-1 signaling pathway, followed by transcriptionally regulated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Dectin-1 was required for hepatic macrophage activation and inflammatory factor induction. Condition media generated from Dectin-1 deficient macrophages failed to cause hepatocyte lipid accumulation and hepatic stellate activation. In conclusion, this study provides the primary evidence supporting a deleterious role for Dectin-1 in NAFLD through enhancing macrophage pro-inflammatory responses and suggests that it can be targeted to prevent inflammatory NAFLD.
Keywords: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Dectin-1; macrophages; NF-κB; TGF-β1; inflammation

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