Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH), previously referred to as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), is a chronic liver disease. This condition frequently arises from metabolic irregularities like obesity or diabetes, leading to an accumulation of fat in the liver, which can become toxic and cause inflammation. This inflammation, combined with fibrosis, can progress to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MASH stands as the most severe manifestation within the spectrum of metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD), formerly nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). [1]

The aim of this study is to develop a MASH (NASH) model with fibrosis characteristics that can meet pre-clinical needs. We use the first FDA-approved MASH drug, Rezdiffra (resmetirom), to assess the efficacy of the MASH model in treatment.

Composite MASH Mouse Model Study Methods

Forty C57BL/6J mice (4-5 weeks, male) were received and raised under a standard 12-hour light/dark cycle (lights off at 7:00 pm). Thirty-five mice were fed a high fat diet (HFD; D12492, 60% of kcal from fat), and the other five mice were fed a chow diet for 12 weeks. Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) can cause liver damage and be administered alone or with a high-fat diet to induce fatty liver or liver fibrosis, a method which has a relatively short induction period. Mice were randomized and divided into 4 groups at the beginning of the intervention: Group 1, chow diet control (n=5); Group 2, HFD control (n=5); Group 3, HFD+Carbon tetrachloride (CCL4) (n=5); Group 4, HFD+CCL4+resmetirom at a daily dose of 3 mg/kg p.o. (n=5). Treatments started on the thirteenth week, after 12 weeks of high-fat diet (HFD), and lasted 4 weeks. Body weight was measured once daily during treatment. All mice were euthanized after treatment, with blood and livers collected for further validation.

Figure 1. Study outline for Composite MASH Mouse Model experiment.

Efficacy Data of HFD+CCl4-Induced MASH (NASH) Mice

Figure 2. Effect of resmetirom on body weight and liver weight.

(A) Body weight development over the intervention period, (B) Liver weight at the endpoint of study.  *P <0.05, significantly different from HFD control. Data are presents as Mean±SEM, n = 5 per group. Values of *p < 0.05 were considered statistically significant by one-way ANOVA analysis.

Figure 3. Resmetirom ameliorated serum TC, HDL-C and LDL-C levels.

(A) Total cholesterol (TC) level, (B) High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level, (C) Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level. Data are presented as Mean±SEM, n=5 per group. # p < 0.05, ## p < 0.005 and ####p < 0.001 comparing with WT group; * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.005 comparing with HFD+CCL4 group by one-way ANOVA analysis.

Figure 4. Resmetirom protected serum ALT and AST levels induced by CCL4 on Day 14 and at the endpoint, respectively.

(A) Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level, (B) Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level. Data are presented as Mean±SEM, n=5 per group. # p < 0.05, ## p < 0.005 comparing with WT group; * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.005 comparing with HFD+CCL4 group by one-way ANOVA analysis.

Figure 5. Histopathology in mice fed chow diet (WT), high-fat diet (HFD), HFD treated with CCL4 (0.125mL/kg), HFD treated with CCL4 (0.125mL/kg) and resmetirom (3mg/kg) for 4 weeks. 

Resmetirom protected HFD-induced steatosis and hepatic ballooning in the liver. (A) Representative images of H&E, (B) Representative images of ORO staining, (C) Representative images of PSR staining, (D) NAS score. Blue arrows indicate steatosis, green arrows indicate lobular inflammation, black arrows indicate hepatocyte ballooning in the figure A. Pathology scores of steatosis (0–3), lobular inflammation (0–3), ballooning (0–2), NAS Activity (0–8). Data are presented as Mean±SEM, n=5 per group.

Figure 6. Resmetirom inhibited mRNA levels of liver fibrosis markers. 

Representative mRNA levels and quantitative analysis of (A) liver α-SMA (Acta2) expression, (B) hepatic collagen 1α1 expression. Data are presented as Mean±SEM, n=5 per group. * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.005, ****p < 0.001 by one-way ANOVA analysis.


A high-fat diet (HFD) can increase body weight, liver weight, serum TC, HDL-C, LDL-C, AST, and ALT levels in DIO mice after 12 weeks of feeding. CCL4  reduces the induction time and exacerbates liver fibrosis in DIO mice, accelerating and aggravating the progression of MASH in mice. Mice treated with CCL4 can develop obesity, steatosis, and fibrosis, meeting the clinical criteria of MASH. This model is widely utilized in the pharmaceutical industry for evaluating new potential drugs for MASH. Treatment with resmetirom significantly lowers body weight and liver weight while decreasing serum TC, HDL-C, and LDL-C levels. Moreover, resmetirom shows efficacy in the DIO+CCL4 composite mouse model of MASH by reducing steatosis and fibrosis.

The above models provide an important tool for studying metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH/NASH), aiding in a deeper understanding of the disease's pathogenesis and offering potential for the development of new treatments. Additionally, Cyagen Biosciences offers a variety of gene-edited and induced models for research on metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, meeting the experimental needs of researchers in these fields.

Gene Edited Models for Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease Research

Cyagen's mouse model platform for drug screening and evaluation can provide you with a variety of gene-edited models, including Ldlr knockout (KO) (em), Lep KO, Uox-KO (Prolonged), Atp7b KO, Foxj1 KO, and more. Cyagen can provide a range of metabolic disease models, such as for research of obesity, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and pancreatitis, alongside comprehensive preclinical CRO services from phenotype analysis through in vivo drug efficacy evaluation services. Our comprehensive capabilities aim to streamline the next-generation of preclinical disease research and new drug development.

Product Number Product Name Strain Background Application
C001507 B6J-Apoe KO C57BL/6JCya Atherosclerosis, Hypercholesterolemia, Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Steatohepatitis (MASH)
C001067 APOE C57BL/6NCya Atherosclerosis
C001291 B6-db/db C57BL/6JCya High Blood Sugar and Obesity
C001392 Ldlr KO (em) C57BL/6JCya Familial Hypercholesterolemia
C001368 B6-ob/ob(Lep KO) C57BL/6JCya Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity
C001232 Uox KO C57BL/6JCya Hyperuricemia
C001393 Uox-KO (Prolonged) C57BL/6JCya Hyperuricemia
C001267 Atp7b KO C57BL/6NCya Copper Metabolism Disorder, Wilson's Disease
C001265 Foxj1 KO C57BL/6NCya Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia
C001266 Usp26 KO C57BL/6NCya Klinefelter Syndrome
C001273 Fah KO C57BL/6NCya Phenylketonuria Type 1
C001383 Alb-Cre/LSL-hLPA C57BL/6NCya Cardiovascular Targets
C001421 B6-hGLP-1R C57BL/6NCya Metabolic Targets
C001400 B6J-hANGPTL3 C57BL/6JCya Metabolic Targets
C001493 FVB-Abcb1a&Abcb1b DKO (Mdr1a/b KO) FVB Diseases Related to Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability
C001532 Serping1 KO C57BL/6JCya Hereditary Angioedema(HAE)


Other Mouse Models for Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease Research: Spontaneous, Induced, Composite, & Surgical

Diet-Induced Obesity (DIO) Model Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) Models Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) Models Diet-Induced Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Steatotic Liver Disease (MASLD) Model
Chemically Induced MASLD Model MASLD Model Composite MASLD Model Composite Arteriosclerosis Model
Arteriosclerosis Model Acute Pancreatitis Model Chronic Pancreatitis Model DIO&CCL4 Induced MASH(NASH) Mouse Model

About Cyagen

In just under 17 years since its founding, Cyagen has become a leading provider of custom mouse and rat models. We have delivered over 50,000 models to researchers worldwide and received over 9,000 peer-reviewed citations. Our AAALAC accredited facility can house up to 250,000 SPF animals, ensuring high-quality standards and compliance.

From strategy design to the delivery of research-ready custom models, Cyagen offers complete outsourcing for all your cell and animal model needs. We provide expertise in animal genetic modification and custom model generation in our collaborations with over 7,000 bioscience institutions across the world. Our services include creating any custom mouse or rat model with guaranteed genotype validation, phenotypic characterization, drug efficacy evaluations, and other downstream services to meet your research needs.

If you require any further information, please contact us.



1. Shuang Wang and Scott L. Found in Translation – Fibrosis in Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Steatohepatitis (MASH). Sci Transl Med. 2023 Oct 4; 15(716).