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Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol


BACKGROUND & AIMS: The nuclear receptor coactivator 5 (NCOA5) is a putative type 2 diabetes susceptibility gene. NCOA5 haploinsufficiency results in the spontaneous development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), insulin resistance, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in male mice; however, the cell-specific effect of NCOA5 haploinsufficiency in various types of cells, including macrophages, on the development of NAFLD and HCC remains unknown.

METHODS: Control and myeloid-lineage-specific Ncoa5 deletion (Ncoa5(ΔM/+)) mice fed a normal diet were examined for the development of NAFLD, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and HCC. Altered genes and signaling pathways in the intrahepatic macrophages of Ncoa5(ΔM/+) male mice were analyzed and compared with that of obese human individuals. The role of platelet factor 4 (PF4) in macrophages and the underlying mechanism by which PF4 affects NAFLD/NASH were explored in vitro and in vivo. PF4 expression in HCC patient specimens and prognosis was examined.

RESULTS: Myeloid-lineage-specific Ncoa5 deletion sufficiently causes spontaneous NASH and HCC development in male mice fed a normal diet. PF4 overexpression in Ncoa5(ΔM/+) intrahepatic macrophages is identified as a potent mediator to trigger lipid accumulation in hepatocytes by inducing lipogenesis-promoting gene expression. The transcriptome of intrahepatic macrophages from Ncoa5(ΔM/+) male mice resembles that of obese human individuals. High PF4 expression correlated with poor prognosis of HCC patients and increased infiltrations of M2 macrophages, regulatory T cells (Tregs), and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in HCCs.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal a novel mechanism for the onset of NAFLD/NASH and HCC initiated by NCOA5-deficient macrophages, suggesting the NCOA5-PF4 axis in macrophages as a potential target for developing preventive and therapeutic interventions against NAFLD/NASH and HCC.

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ePub ahead of print





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