Volume 43 (2018) Issue 2 Pages 135-157
Acyl CoA: diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) 1 is an enzyme that catalyzes the re-synthesis of triglycerides (TG) from free fatty acids and diacylglycerol. JTT-553 is a DGAT1 inhibitor and exhibits its pharmacological action (inhibition of re-synthesis of TG) in the enterocytes of the small intestine leading to suppression of a postprandial elevation of plasma lipids. After repeated oral dosing JTT-553 in rats and monkeys, plasma transaminase levels were increased but there were neither changes in other hepatic function parameters nor histopathological findings suggestive of hepatotoxicity. Based on the results of exploratory studies for investigation of the mechanism of the increase in transaminase levels, plasma transaminase levels were increased after dosing JTT-553 only when animals were fed after dosing and a main factor in the diet contributing to the increase in plasma transaminase levels was lipids. After dosing JTT-553, transaminase levels were increased in the small intestine but not in the liver, indicating that the origin of transaminase increased in the plasma was not the liver but the small intestine where JTT-553 exhibits its pharmacological action. The increase in small intestinal transaminase levels was due to increased enzyme protein synthesis and was suppressed by inhibiting fatty acid-transport to the enterocytes. In conclusion, the JTT-553-related increase in plasma transaminase levels is considered not to be due to release of the enzymes from injured cells into the circulation but to be phenomena resulting from enhancement of enzyme protein synthesis in the small intestine due to the pharmacological action of JTT-553 in this organ.