Received: March 26, 2019; Revised: July 15, 2019; Accepted: August 26, 2019
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Dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-4 inhibitors, or gliptins, are a class of oral hypoglycemic drugs that have been widely used as a second-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. Gliptins, which were introduced for clinical use a decade ago, have been shown to be beneficial against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in animals and humans. Cenicriviroc (CVC), a dual antagonist of C-C chemokine receptor type 2 and 5, is currently under investigation against NASH and fibrosis. It was previously discovered that evogliptin (EVO) reduces hepatic steatosis in diet-induced obese animals but the effectiveness of EVO on NASH remains unexplored. Here, we compared the effectiveness of EVO and CVC against NASH and fibrosis in mice fed a high-fat and high-fructose diet (HFHF). Biochemical and histological analyses showed that mice fed a HFHF for 20 weeks developed severe hepatic steatosis and inflammation with mild fibrosis. Administration of EVO (0.2% wt/wt) for the last 8 weeks of HFHF feeding significantly reduced hepatic triglyceride accumulation, inflammation, and fibrosis as well as restored insulin sensitivity, as evidenced by lowered plasma insulin levels and the improvement in insulin tolerance test curves. Treatment of mice with CVC (0.1% wt/wt) inhibited hepatic inflammation and fibrogenesis with similar efficacy to that of EVO, without affecting hepatic steatosis. CVC treatment also reduced plasma insulin concentrations, despite no improvement in insulin tolerance. In conclusion, EVO administration efficiently ameliorated the development of NASH and fibrosis in HFHF-fed mice, corroborating its therapeutic potential.