Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Animals; Blood-Brain Barrier (metabolism, pathology); Brain (metabolism, pathology); Cytokines (metabolism); Disease Models, Animal; HMGB1 Protein (metabolism); Inflammasomes (metabolism); Inflammation (metabolism, pathology); Lipocalin-2 (blood); Liver (metabolism, pathology); Mice; NF-kappa B (metabolism); Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (metabolism, pathology); Oxidative Stress (physiology); Signal Transduction (physiology); Toll-Like Receptor 4 (metabolism)



Recent clinical and basic research implicated a strong correlation between NAFLD/NASH phenotypes with ectopic manifestations including neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, but the mediators and critical pathways involved are not well understood. Lipocalin 2 (Lcn2) is one of the important mediators exclusively produced in the liver and circulation during NASH pathology.


Using murine model of NASH, we studied the role of Lcn2 as a potent mediator of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in NASH pathology via the liver-brain axis. RESULTS: Results showed that high circulatory Lcn2 activated 24p3R (Lipocalin2 receptor) in the brain and induced the release of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) preferably from brain cells. Released HMGB1 acted as a preferential ligand to toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and induced oxidative stress by activation of NOX-2 signaling involving activated p65 protein of the NF-κB complex. Further, the HMGB1-derived downstream signaling cascade activated NLRP3 inflammasome and release of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-1β from brain cells. In addition, to advance our present understanding, in vitro studies were performed in primary brain endothelial cells where results showed high circulatory Lcn2 influenced HMGB1 secretion. Mechanistically, we also showed that elevated Lcn2 level in underlying NASH might be a likely cause for induction of blood-brain barrier dysfunction since the adipokine decreased the expression of tight junction protein Claudin 5 and caused subsequent elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-1β.


In conclusion, the NASH-induced brain pathology might be because of increased Lcn2-induced release of HMGB1 and accompanying neuroinflammation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Mondal, A., Bose, D., Saha, P., Sarkar, S., Seth, R., & Kimono, D. et al. (2020). Lipocalin 2 induces neuroinflammation and blood-brain barrier dysfunction through liver-brain axis in murine model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Journal Of Neuroinflammation, 17(1).