Congratulations to Dr. Hossein Rafiei, Michelle Yeung, Dr. Sara Kowalski, Dr. Gerald Krystal and Dr. Ingrid Elisia for their new publication titled, "Development of a novel human triculture model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and identification of berberine as ameliorating steatosis, oxidative stress and fibrosis" in the Frontiers in Pharmacology journal, October 2023.
Abstract: Team of researchers from BC Cancer and Terry Fox laboratory, developed a novel triculture model using HepG2 hepatocytes, hepatic LX-2 stellate cells, and differentiated THP-1 cells to mimic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its progression to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The model successfully replicated key NAFLD/NASH features, including steatosis, oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis. By exposing the cells to NASH-associated risk factors, they observed increased fat accumulation, higher reactive oxygen species, and elevated inflammatory cytokines/chemokines. The triculture system allowed simultaneous monitoring of these features, enabling efficient drug screening. Berberine, an isoalkaloid, emerged as a promising compound, reducing steatosis and ROS in HepG2 cells, suppressing inflammatory cytokines, and inhibiting collagen production in LX-2 cells. This triculture model presents a valuable tool for preclinical drug discovery, with berberine showing potential in mitigating NAFLD/NASH-related conditions.