The liver-selective NO donor, V-PYRRO/NO, protects against liver steatosis and improves postprandial glucose tolerance in mice fed high fat diet

Edyta Maslak, Piotr Zabielski, Kamila Kochan, Kamil Kus, Agnieszka Jasztal, Barbara Sitek, Bartosz Proniewski, Tomasz Wojcik, Katarzyna Gula, Agnieszka Kij, Maria Walczak, Malgorzata Baranska, Adrian Chabowski, Ryan J. Holland, Joseph E. Saavedra, Larry K. Keefer, Stefan Chlopicki

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Background and purpose: There is an unmet medical need for novel NAFLD treatments. Here we have examined the effects of liver-selective NO donor (V-PYRRO/NO) as compared with metformin on hepatic steatosis and glucose tolerance in mice fed high fat diet. 

Material and methods: Effects of V-PYRRO/NO (5 mg kg-1) or metformin (616 mg kg-1) were examined in C57BL/6J mice fed high fat diet (HF, 60 kcal% fat). Quantitative determination of steatosis, liver fatty acid composition and western blot analysis of selected proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, fatty acid de novo synthesis and oxidation, triacylglycerols and cholesterol transport from the liver were performed. Liver NOx and nitrate concentration and blood biochemistry were also analyzed. 

Results: V-PYRRO/NO and metformin reduced liver steatosis with simultaneous reduction of total liver triacylglycerols, diacylglycerols and ceramides fraction and reversed HF-induced decrease in UFA/SFA ratio. V-PYRRO/NO substantially improved postprandial glucose tolerance, while the effect of metformin was modest and more pronounced on HOMA IR index. The anti-steatotic mechanism of V-PYRRO/NO was dependent on NO release, differed from that of metformin and involved improved glucose tolerance and inhibition of de novo fatty acid synthesis by Akt activation and ACC phosphorylation. In turn, major mechanism of metformin action involved increased expression of proteins implicated in mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism (PGC-1α, PPARα, COX IV, cytochrome c, HADHSC). Conclusions: V-PYRRO/NO acts as a liver-specific NO donor prodrug affording pronounced anti-steatotic effects and may represent an efficient, mechanistically novel approach to prevent liver steatosis and insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-400
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatty acid metabolism
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Hepatoprotection
  • Liver steatosis
  • Nitric oxide

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