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Scientific Reports | June 2021

Authors: Nadine Daou, Andreu Viader, Murat Cokol, Arianna Nitzel, Manu V. Chakravarthy, Raffi Afeyan, Tony Tramontin, Svetlana Marukian & Michael J. Hamill

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a complex metabolic disease of heterogeneous and multifactorial pathogenesis that may benefit from coordinated multitargeted interventions. Endogenous metabolic modulators (EMMs) encompass a broad set of molecular families, including amino acids and related metabolites and precursors. EMMs often serve as master regulators and signaling agents for metabolic pathways throughout the body and hold the potential to impact a complex metabolic disease like NASH by targeting a multitude of pathologically relevant biologies. Here, we describe a study of a novel EMM composition comprising five amino acids and an amino acid derivative (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine, Arginine, Glutamine, and N-acetylcysteine [LIVRQNac]) and its systematic evaluation across multiple NASH-relevant primary human cell model systems, including hepatocytes, macrophages, and stellate cells. In these model systems, LIVRQNac consistently and simultaneously impacted biology associated with all three core pathophysiological features of NASH—metabolic, inflammatory, and fibrotic. Importantly, it was observed that while the individual constituent amino acids in LIVRQNac can impact specific NASH-related phenotypes in select cell systems, the complete combination was necessary to impact the range of disease-associated drivers examined. These findings highlight the potential of specific and potent multitargeted amino acid combinations for the treatment of NASH.