Hmgcs2-mediated ketogenesis modulates high-fat diet-induced hepatosteatosis

Shaza Asif, Ri Youn Kim, Thet Fatica, Jordan Sim, ... Kyoung-Han Kim



Aberrant ketogenesis is correlated with the degree of steatosis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients, and an inborn error of ketogenesis (mitochondrial HMG-CoA synthase deficiency) is commonly associated with the development of the fatty liver. Here we aimed to determine the impact of Hmgcs2-mediated ketogenesis and its modulations on the development and treatment of fatty liver disease.


Loss- and gain-of-ketogenic function models, achieved by Hmgcs2 knockout and overexpression, respectively, were utilized to investigate the role of ketogenesis in the hepatic lipid accumulation during postnatal development and in a high-fat diet-induced NAFLD mouse model.


Ketogenic function was decreased in NAFLD mice with a reduction in Hmgcs2 expression. Mice lacking Hmgcs2developed spontaneous fatty liver phenotype during postnatal development, which was rescued by a shift to a low-fat dietary composition via early weaning. Hmgcs2 heterozygous adult mice, which exhibited lower ketogenic activity, were more susceptible to diet-induced NAFLD development, whereas HMGCS2 overexpression in NAFLD mice improved hepatosteatosis and glucose homeostasis.


Our study adds new knowledge to the field of ketone body metabolism and shows that Hmgcs2-mediated ketogenesis modulates hepatic lipid regulation under a fat-enriched nutritional environment. The regulation of hepatic ketogenesis may be a viable therapeutic strategy in the prevention and treatment of hepatosteatosis.