The hepatokine Tsukushi is released in response to NAFLD and impacts cholesterol homeostasis

Mathilde Mouchiroud, Étienne Camiré, Manal Aldow, Alexandre Caron, Éric Jubinville, Laurie Turcotte, Inès Kaci, Marie Josée Beaulieu, Christian Roy, Sébastien M. Labbé, Thibault V. Varin, Yves Gélinas, Jennifer Lamothe, Jocelyn Trottier, Patricia L. Mitchell, Frédéric Guénard, William T. Festuccia, Philippe Joubert, Christopher F. Rose, Constantine J. KarvellasOlivier Barbier, Mathieu C. Morissette, André Marette, Mathieu Laplante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) prevails in obesity and is linked to several health complications including dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis. How exactly NAFLD induces atherogenic dyslipidemia to promote cardiovascular diseases is still elusive. Here, we identify Tsukushi (TSK) as a hepatokine induced in response to NAFLD. We show that both endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammation promote the expression and release of TSK in mice. In humans, hepatic TSK expression is also associated with steatosis, and its circulating levels are markedly increased in patients suffering from acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure (ALF), a condition linked to severe hepatic inflammation. In these patients, elevated blood TSK levels were associated with decreased transplant-free survival at hospital discharge, suggesting that TSK could have a prognostic significance. Gain- and loss-of-function studies in mice revealed that TSK impacts systemic cholesterol homeostasis. TSK reduces circulating HDL cholesterol, lowers cholesterol efflux capacity, and decreases cholesterol-to-bile acid conversion in the liver. Our data identify the hepatokine TSK as a blood biomarker of liver stress that could link NAFLD to the development of atherogenic dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number129492
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 8 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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