A Novel and Cross-Species Active Mammalian INDY (NaCT) Inhibitor Ameliorates Hepatic Steatosis in Mice with Diet-Induced Obesity

Grit Zahn*, Diana M. Willmes, Nermeen N. El-Agroudy, Christopher Yarnold, Richard Jarjes-Pike, Sabine Schaertl, Kay Schreiter, Wiebke Gehrmann, Andrea Kuan Cie Wong, Tommaso Zordan, Jörg König, Jens Jordan, Andreas L. Birkenfeld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian INDY (mINDY, NaCT, gene symbol SLC13A5) is a potential target for the treatment of metabolically associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). This study evaluated the effects of a selective, cross-species active, non-competitive, non-substrate-like inhibitor of NaCT. First, the small molecule inhibitor ETG-5773 was evaluated for citrate and succinate uptake and fatty acid synthesis in cell lines expressing both human NaCT and mouse Nact. Once its suitability was established, the inhibitor was evaluated in a diet-induced obesity (DIO) mouse model. DIO mice treated with 15 mg/kg compound ETG-5773 twice daily for 28 days had reduced body weight, fasting blood glucose, and insulin, and improved glucose tolerance. Liver triglycerides were significantly reduced, and body composition was improved by reducing fat mass, supported by a significant reduction in the expression of genes for lipogenesis such as SREBF1 and SCD1. Most of these effects were also evident after a seven-day treatment with the same dose. Further mechanistic investigation in the seven-day study showed increased plasma β-hydroxybutyrate and activated hepatic adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), reflecting findings from Indy (−/−) knockout mice. These results suggest that the inhibitor ETG-5773 blocked citrate uptake mediated by mouse and human NaCT to reduce liver steatosis and body fat and improve glucose regulation, proving the concept of NaCT inhibition as a future liver treatment for MAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number732
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • citrate transporter
  • metabolic dysfunction
  • mINDY
  • NaCT
  • NASH
  • SLC13A5


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