iNKT cells prevent obesity-induced hepatic steatosis in mice in a C-C chemokine receptor 7-dependent manner

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are characterized by an increase in hepatic triglyceride content with infiltration of immune cells, which can cause steatohepatitis and hepatic insulin resistance. C-C chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7) is primarily expressed in immune cells, and CCR7 deficiency leads to the development of multi-organ autoimmunity, chronic renal disease and autoimmune diabetes. Here, we investigated the effect of CCR7 on hepatic steatosis in a mouse model and its underlying mechanism. Our results demonstrated that body and liver weights were higher in the CCR7− / − mice than in the wildtype (WT) mice when they were fed a high-fat diet. Further, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were markedly diminished in CCR7− / − mice. The number of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells was reduced in the livers of the CCR7− / − mice. Moreover, liver inflammation was detected in obese CCR7− / − mice, which was ameliorated by the adoptive transfer of hepatic mononuclear cells from WT mice, but not through the transfer of hepatic mononuclear cells from CD1d− / − or interleukin-10-deficient (IL-10− / −) mice. Overall, these results suggest that CCR7+ mononuclear cells in the liver could regulate obesity-induced hepatic steatosis via induction of IL-10-expressing iNKT cells.

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