Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in the United States and the world; with no Food and Drug Administration–approved pharmacological treatment available, it remains an area of unmet medical need. In nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the most important predictor of clinical outcome is the fibrosis stage. Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that clinical trials for drugs to treat this disease include patients with fibrosis stage 2 or greater. Therefore, when using animal models for investigating the pathophysiology of NAFLD and for the preclinical evaluation of new drugs, it is important that the animals develop substantial fibrosis. The aim of this study was to develop a mouse model of NAFLD that replicated the disease in humans, including obesity and progressive liver fibrosis. Agouti yellow mutant mice, which have hyperphagia, were fed a Western diet and water containing high-fructose corn syrup for 16 weeks. Mice became obese and developed glucose intolerance. Their gut microbiota showed dysbiosis with changes that replicate some of the changes described in humans with NASH. They developed NASH with activity scores of 5–6 and fibrosis, which was stage 1 after 16 weeks, and stage 3 after 12 months. Changes in liver gene expression assessed by gene-set enrichment analysis showed 90% similarity with changes in human patients with NASH. Conclusion: Ay mice, when fed a Western diet similar to that consumed by humans, develop obesity and NASH with liver histology, including fibrosis, and gene expression changes that are highly similar to the disease in humans.
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