Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disorder worldwide. Multiple metabolic disorders, such as hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance and obesity, have been reportedly associated with NAFLD, but little is known about the detailed mechanisms.

Methods and Results: Here, we explored the effects of multiple metabolic disorders, especially hyperglycemia on lipid accumulation in liver using several well-established animal models. We found that liver lipid deposition was increased in both type 1 diabetes and high-fat diet (HFD) induced hyperlipidemia models, suggesting that either hyperglycemia or hyperlipidemia alone or together was able to trigger NAFLD. Moreover, we tested whether miR-320, a miRNA promoting lipid accumulation in heart revealed by our previous study, also participated in NAFLD. Though miR-320 treatment further increased liver lipid deposition in type 1 diabetes and HFD-feeding mice, it showed no effect in leptin-receptor deficient db/db mice. Interestingly, miR-320 affected different target genes in cytosol and nucleus, respectively, which collectively led to liver lipid overload.

Conclusions: Our findings illustrated the complex roles of miRNAs in subcellular fractions including nucleus and cytoplasm, which may lead to new insights into the mechanisms and treatment strategies for NAFLD in the future.