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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 603409, 7 pages
Research Article

Pioglitazone Upregulates Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 Expression in Insulin-Sensitive Tissues in Rats with High-Fat Diet-Induced Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, 76 Linjiang Road, Chongqing 400010, China
2Department of Hematology and Oncology, Chongqing the Third Hospital, Chongqing 400014, China
3Institute of Life Sciences, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China

Received 19 August 2013; Accepted 18 October 2013; Published 14 January 2014

Academic Editors: K. D. Burns and D. M. Coldwell

Copyright © 2014 Wei Zhang 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 Aim. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) can improve hepatic steatosis in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Angiotensin (Ang) II, the primary effector of renin-angiotensin system (RAS), plays vital roles in the development and progression of NASH. And some AngII-mediated effects can be regulated by TZDs. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2, a new component of RAS, can degrade Ang II to attenuate its subsequent physiological actions. We aimed to evaluate the effects of TZDs on ACE2 expression in insulin-sensitive tissues in NASH rats. Methods. Forty rats were divided into the normal control, high-fat diet (HFD), pioglitazone control, and HFD plus pioglitazone groups. After 24 weeks of treatment, we evaluated changes in liver histology and tissue-specific ACE2 expression. Results. ACE2 gene and protein expression was significantly greater in liver and adipose tissue in the HFD group compared with normal control group, while was significantly reduced in skeletal muscle. Pioglitazone significantly reduced the degree of hepatic steatosis compared with the HFD group. Pioglitazone significantly increased ACE2 protein expression in liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle compared with the HFD group. Conclusions. Pioglitazone improves hepatic steatosis in the rats with HFD-induced NASH and upregulates ACE2 expression in insulin-sensitive tissues.