Sustained-release mitochondrial protonophore reverses nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in rats

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As a mitochondrial uncoupler, 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) is proven therapeutically effective against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by uncoupling oxidation and phosphorylation. However, a major factor that impedes the clinical application of DNP is the significant side effects derived from its frequent hyperthermia and even death. In this study, we developed an injectable liquid crystal gel (DNP-LC-gel) to reduce the toxicity of DNP. DNP-LC-gel achieved sustained release and maintained DNP plasma concentration at an effective drug level. In a rat model of NAFLD, DNP-LC-gel treated rats reduced hepatic steatosis, liver triglyceride content, plasma triacylglycerol (TG) and total cholesterol (TC) content. Compared with DNP solution (DNP-soln), rats after DNP-LC-gel treatment showed no body temperature toxicity and local irritation. All results above indicated that DNP-LC-gel has a great potential for NAFLD therapy.

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