UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology; UMass Metabolic Network

Publication Date


Document Type



Digestive System Diseases | Gastroenterology | Hepatology | Neoplasms


AIM: To establish a mouse model of alcohol-driven hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that develops in livers with alcoholic liver disease (ALD).

METHODS: Adult C57BL/6 male mice received multiple doses of chemical carcinogen diethyl nitrosamine (DEN) followed by 7 wk of 4% Lieber-DeCarli diet. Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alpha fetoprotein (AFP) and liver Cyp2e1 were assessed. Expression of F4/80, CD68 for macrophages and Ly6G, MPO, E-selectin for neutrophils was measured. Macrophage polarization was determined by IL-1beta/iNOS (M1) and Arg-1/IL-10/CD163/CD206 (M2) expression. Liver steatosis and fibrosis were measured by oil-red-O and Sirius red staining respectively. HCC development was monitored by magnetic resonance imaging, confirmed by histology. Cellular proliferation was assessed by proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA).

RESULTS: Alcohol-DEN mice showed higher ALTs than pair fed-DEN mice throughout the alcohol feeding without weight gain. Alcohol feeding resulted in increased ALT, liver steatosis and inflammation compared to pair-fed controls. Alcohol-DEN mice had reduced steatosis and increased fibrosis indicating advanced liver disease. Molecular characterization showed highest levels of both neutrophil and macrophage markers in alcohol-DEN livers. Importantly, M2 macrophages were predominantly higher in alcohol-DEN livers. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed increased numbers of intrahepatic cysts and liver histology confirmed the presence of early HCC in alcohol-DEN mice compared to all other groups. This correlated with increased serum alpha-fetoprotein, a marker of HCC, in alcohol-DEN mice. PCNA immunostaining revealed significantly increased hepatocyte proliferation in livers from alcohol-DEN compared to pair fed-DEN or alcohol-fed mice.

CONCLUSION: We describe a new 12-wk HCC model in adult mice that develops in livers with alcoholic hepatitis and defines ALD as co-factor in HCC.


Alpha-fetoprotein, Liver tumor, Macrophage polarization, Proliferating cell nuclear antigen, Steatohepatitis

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DOI of Published Version



World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Apr 28;22(16):4091-108. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i16.4091. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

World journal of gastroenterology

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License