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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017, Article ID 3420286, 15 pages
Research Article

Genetic Nrf2 Overactivation Inhibits the Deleterious Effects Induced by Hepatocyte-Specific c-met Deletion during the Progression of NASH

1Department of Medicine III, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany
2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany
3Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
4Department of Immunology, Complutense University School of Medicine, Madrid, Spain
512 de Octubre Health Research Institute (imas12), Madrid, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Daniela C. Kroy; ed.nehcaaku@yorkd

Received 12 December 2016; Accepted 22 March 2017; Published 6 June 2017

Academic Editor: M. Yvonne Alexander

Copyright © 2017 Pierluigi Ramadori 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.


We have recently shown that hepatocyte-specific c-met deficiency accelerates the progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in experimental murine models resulting in augmented production of reactive oxygen species and accelerated development of fibrosis. The aim of this study focuses on the elucidation of the underlying cellular mechanisms driven by Nrf2 overactivation in hepatocytes lacking c-met receptor characterized by a severe unbalance between pro-oxidant and antioxidant functions. Control mice (c-metfx/fx), single c-met knockouts (c-metΔhepa), and double c-met/Keap1 knockouts (met/Keap1Δhepa) were then fed a chow or a methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) diet, respectively, for 4 weeks to reproduce the features of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Upon MCD feeding, met/Keap1Δhepa mice displayed increased liver mass albeit decreased triglyceride accumulation. The marked increase of oxidative stress observed in c-metΔhepa was restored in the double mutants as assessed by 4-HNE immunostaining and by the expression of genes responsible for the generation of free radicals. Moreover, double knockout mice presented a reduced amount of liver-infiltrating cells and the exacerbation of fibrosis progression observed in c-metΔhepa livers was significantly inhibited in met/Keap1Δhepa. Therefore, genetic activation of the antioxidant transcription factor Nrf2 improves liver damage and repair in hepatocyte-specific c-met-deficient mice mainly through restoring a balance in the cellular redox homeostasis.