Background & Aims: Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is known to be activated in human alcoholic liver disease, but its role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver injury remains obscure. Methods: The role of STAT3 in alcoholic liver injury was investigated in hepatocyte-specific STAT3 knockout (H-STAT3KO) mice and macrophage/neutrophil-specific STAT3 KO (M/N-STAT3KO) mice. Alcoholic liver injury was achieved by feeding mice a liquid diet containing 5% ethanol for up to 8 weeks. Results: Compared with wild-type mice, feeding H-STAT3KO mice with an ethanol-containing diet induced greater hepatic steatosis, hypertriglyceridemia, and hepatic expression of lipogenic genes (sterol regulatory element-binding protein, fatty acid synthase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1, and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1), but less inflammation and lower expression of hepatic proinflammatory cytokines. In contrast, ethanol-fed M/N-STAT3KO mice showed more hepatic inflammation, worse injury, and increased hepatic expression of proinflammatory cytokines compared with wild-type mice. Kupffer cells isolated from ethanol-fed H-STAT3KO mice produced similar amounts of reactive oxygen species and tumor necrosis factor α, whereas Kupffer cells from M/N-STAT3KO mice produced more reactive oxygen species and tumor necrosis factor α compared with wild-type controls. Conclusions: These findings suggest that STAT3 regulates hepatic inflammation in a cell type-dependent manner during alcoholic liver injury: STAT3 in hepatocytes promotes whereas STAT3 in macrophages/Kupffer cells suppresses inflammation. In addition, activation of hepatocellular STAT3 ameliorates alcoholic fatty liver via inhibition of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c expression.
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