The incidence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is increasing. Because gut microbiota have been highlighted as one of the key factors in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome, we investigated the involvement of the bacterial component in the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) to NASH. C57BL/6 mice were fed with maintenance food (MF, groups A and B) or a high caloric diet (HCD, groups C and D) for 1 month. Mice were then divided into four groups: Groups A and C were inoculated with PBS, while groups B and D were inoculated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plus complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA). The inoculations were performed a total of 3 times over 3 months. At 6 months, while hepatic steatosis was observed in groups C and D, cellular infiltration and fibrosis were less evident in group C than in group D. Inflammatory cytokines were upregulated in groups B and D. 16S rRNA pyrosequencing of whole colon homogenates containing faeces showed that certain bacterial groups, such as Bacteroidaceae, Peptostreptococcaceae and Erysipelotrichaceae, were increased in groups C and D. Although loading of bacterial components (LPS) resulted in hepatic inflammation in both MF- and HCD-fed mice, HCD feeding was more crucial in the progression of NAFL during the triggering phase.
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