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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015, Article ID 239623, 10 pages
Research Article

CD4+RORγt++ and Tregs in a Mouse Model of Diet-Induced Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Antwerp University Hospital, 2560 Antwerp, Belgium
2Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of Bari, 70100 Bari, Italy
3Laboratory of Experimental Medicine and Paediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Antwerp, 2560 Antwerp, Belgium
4Laboratory of Pharmacology, University of Antwerp, 2560 Antwerp, Belgium
5Laboratory of Immunology, Allergology and Rheumatology, University of Antwerp, 2560 Antwerp, Belgium
6International Tissue Engineering Research Association (ITERA) Life Sciences Forum, 3620 Lanaken, Belgium
7Genetisch-Diagnostisches Labor, 50939 Köln, Germany

Received 27 February 2015; Revised 7 June 2015; Accepted 14 June 2015

Academic Editor: Jianfei Yang

Copyright © 2015 Luisa Vonghia et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Aims. Inflammatory mediators that cross-talk in different metabolically active organs are thought to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). This study was aimed at investigating the CD4+RORγt+ T-helper cells and their counterpart, the CD4+CD25+FOXP3+ regulatory T cells in the liver, subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and abdominal adipose tissue (AAT) in a high fat diet (HFD) mouse model. Methods. C57BL6 mice were fed a HFD or a normal diet (ND). Liver enzymes, metabolic parameters, and liver histology were assessed. The expression of CD4+RORγt+ cells and regulatory T cells in different organs (blood, liver, AAT, and SAT) were analyzed by flow cytometry. Cytokine and adipokine tissue expression were studied by RT-PCR. Results. Mice fed a HFD developed NASH and metabolic alterations compared to normal diet. CD4+RORγt++ cells were significantly increased in the liver and the AAT while an increase of regulatory T cells was observed in the SAT of mice fed HFD compared to ND. Inflammatory cytokines were also upregulated. Conclusions. CD4+RORγt++ cells and regulatory T cells are altered in NASH with a site-specific pattern and correlate with the severity of the disease. These site-specific differences are associated with increased cytokine expression.