Main content area

Western Diet-Induced Metabolic Alterations Affect Circulating Markers of Liver Function before the Development of Steatosis

Gabbia, Daniela, Roverso, Marco, Guido, Maria, Sacchi, Diana, Scaffidi, Michela, Carrara, Maria, Orso, Genny, Russo, Francesco Paolo, Floreani, Annarosa, Bogialli, Sara, De Martin, Sara
Nutrients 2019 v.11 no.7
Western diets, aspartate transaminase, bilirubin, chenodeoxycholic acid, cholesterol, cholic acid, cytochrome P-450, droplets, drugs, fatty liver, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, histology, lipid metabolism, liver, liver function, macrophages, pharmacokinetics, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rats, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcription, tandem mass spectrometry
Since nutrition might have a significant impact on liver function, we analyzed the early effect of Western-type diet on hepatic tissue and lipid and drug metabolism in Wistar&ndash;Kyoto rats (n = 8); eight rats fed with a standard diet were used as controls. Histological analysis of liver tissue was performed, and plasma biochemical parameters were measured. Plasma concentration of six bile acids was determined by ultra-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry UHPLC-MS/MS. Hepatic gene expressions of enzymes involved in drug and lipid metabolism were assessed by means of real-time reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR. Liver of rats fed with a Western diet did not show macroscopic histological alterations, but number and diameter of lipid droplets increased, as well as DGAT1, GPAT4, SCD, FASN and SREBP2 expression. Furthermore, Western diet-fed animals showed an increase in the activation of hepatic stellate cells and macrophage number in liver tissue, as well as a significant increase in AST and bilirubin levels (p < 0.01), and in the LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio (p < 0.001). Plasma chenodeoxycholic acid concentration increased significantly, whereas cholic acid decreased (p < 0.05), and cytochrome P450 genes were generally downregulated. Significant changes in hepatic lipid and drug metabolism are early induced by the Western diet, prior to steatosis development. Such changes are associated with a peculiar alteration in circulating bile acids, which could represent an early marker of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) development.