Published online Oct 28, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i24.2551
Peer-review started: June 17, 2015
First decision: July 3, 2015
Revised: July 28, 2015
Accepted: September 29, 2015
Article in press: September 30, 2015
Published online: October 28, 2015
AIM: To study pentoxifylline effects in liver and adipose tissue inflammation in obese mice induced by high-fat diet (HFD).
METHODS: Male swiss mice (6-wk old) were fed a high-fat diet (HFD; 60% kcal from fat) or AIN-93 (control diet; 15% kcal from fat) for 12 wk and received pentoxifylline intraperitoneally (100 mg/kg per day) for the last 14 d. Glucose homeostasis was evaluated by measurements of basal glucose blood levels and insulin tolerance test two days before the end of the protocol. Final body weight was assessed. Epididymal adipose tissue was collected and weighted for adiposity evaluation. Liver and adipose tissue biopsies were homogenized in solubilization buffer and cytokines were measured in supernatant by enzyme immunoassay or multiplex kit, respectively. Hepatic histopathologic analyses were performed in sections of paraformaldehyde-fixed, paraffin-embedded liver specimens stained with hematoxylin-eosin by an independent pathologist. Steatosis (macrovesicular and microvesicular), ballooning degeneration and inflammation were histopathologically determined. Triglycerides measurements were performed after lipid extraction in liver tissue.
RESULTS: Pentoxifylline treatment reduced microsteatosis and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in liver (156.3 ± 17.2 and 62.6 ± 7.6 pg/mL of TNF-α for non-treated and treated obese mice, respectively; P < 0.05). Serum aspartate aminotransferase levels were also reduced (23.2 ± 6.9 and 12.1 ± 1.6 U/L for non-treated and treated obese mice, respectively; P < 0.05) but had no effect on glucose homeostasis. In obese adipose tissue, pentoxifylline reduced TNF-α (106.1 ± 17.6 and 51.1 ± 9.6 pg/mL for non-treated and treated obese mice, respectively; P < 0.05) and interleukin-6 (340.8 ± 51.3 and 166.6 ± 22.5 pg/mL for non-treated and treated obese mice, respectively; P < 0.05) levels; however, leptin (8.1 ± 0.7 and 23.1 ± 2.9 ng/mL for non-treated and treated lean mice, respectively; P < 0.05) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (600.2 ± 32.3 and 1508.6 ± 210.4 pg/mL for non-treated and treated lean mice, respectively; P < 0.05) levels increased in lean adipose tissue. TNF-α level in the liver of lean mice also increased (29.6 ± 6.6 and 75.4 ± 12.6 pg/mL for non-treated and treated lean mice, respectively; P < 0.05) while triglycerides presented a tendency to reduction.
CONCLUSION: Pentoxifylline was beneficial in obese mice improving liver and adipose tissue inflammation. Unexpectedly, pentoxifylline increased pro-inflammatory markers in the liver and adipose tissue of lean mice.
Core tip: Pentoxifylline is prescribed to patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis, which suggest that this drug could also be beneficial to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) patients. However, experimental results with pentoxifylline have shown conflicting data depending on the NASH model employed. Considering that obesity is strongly associated with the development of NASH, our study evaluated the effects of pentoxifylline in a high-fat diet induced obesity model. Our results showed that pentoxifylline was beneficial in obesity-associated NASH improving liver and adipose tissue inflammation. Unexpectedly, pentoxifylline treatment resulted in undesirable effects in adipose tissue and liver inflammatory markers in lean mice.