2020 Volume 69 Issue 4 Pages 395-406
Gender and menopause influence the severity and development manner of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Male p62/Sqstm1 and nuclear factor E2-related factor-2 (p62 and Nrf2) double-knockout (DKO) mice exhibit severe steatohepatitis caused by hyperphagia-induced obesity, overload of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the liver, and potentiation of the inflammatory response in Kupffer cells. However, the pathogenetic phenotype of steatohepatitis in female DKO mice remains unknown. Phenotypic changes of steatohepatitis in DKO mice were compared in terms of gender differences. Compared with DKO male mice, DKO female mice exhibited later onset of steatohepatitis with obesity after 30 weeks of age, as well as milder severity of hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Serum estradiol was higher in female than male mice, with levels increasing up to 30 weeks of age before decreasing until 50 weeks of age (corresponding to the post-menopausal period). Fecal and serum LPS were lower in female mice than male mice, and inflammatory signaling in the liver was attenuated in female compared with male mice. Correlating with LPS levels, the composition of intestinal microbiota in female mice was different from male mice. Gender differences were observed for the development of steatohepatitis in DKO mice. Low-grade inflammatory hit in the liver under in vivo conditions of high estradiol may be attributable to the milder pathological features of steatohepatitis in female mice.