Pharmacological intervention of liver triacylglycerol lipolysis: The good, the bad and the ugly

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Graphical abstractExcessive triacylglycerol (TG) accumulation is the distinctive feature of obesity. In the liver, sustained TG accretion leads to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), eventually progressing to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis, which is associated with complications including hepatic failure, hepatocellular carcinoma and death. Pharmacological interventions are actively pursued to prevent lipid accumulation in hepatocytes and, therefore, to ameliorate the associated pathophysiological conditions. Here, we sought to provide an overview of the pharmacological approaches to up- or downregulate the expression and activities of the enzymes involved in hepatic TG hydrolysis. Fatty acids (FA) released by hydrolysis of hepatic TG can be used for β-oxidation, signaling, and for very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-TG synthesis. Originally, lipolysis was believed to be centered in the adipose and to be catalyzed by only two lipases, hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). However, genetic ablation of HSL expression in mice failed to erase TG hydrolysis in adipocytes leading to the identification of a third lipase termed adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL). Although these three enzymes are considered to be the main players governing lipolysis in the adipocyte, other lipolytic enzymes have been described to contribute to hepatic TG metabolism. These include adiponutrin/patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 3 (PNPLA3), some members of the carboxylesterase family (CES/Ces), arylacetamide deacetylase (AADAC), lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) and hepatic lipase (HL). This review highlights the consequences of pharmacological interventions of liver lipases that degrade TG in cytosolic lipid droplets, in the endoplasmic reticulum, in the late endosomes/lysosomes and along the secretory route.

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