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Genes Nutr. 2012 Apr;7(2):265-80. doi: 10.1007/s12263-011-0261-7. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Nutrigenomics of hepatic steatosis in a feline model: effect of monosodium glutamate, fructose, and Trans-fat feeding.

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  • 1Cell Biology and Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Biological and Medical Research, MBC 03, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, P. O. Box 3354, Riyadh, 11211, Saudi Arabia,


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease begins with a relatively benign hepatic steatosis, often associated with increased adiposity, but may progress to a more severe nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with inflammation. A subset of these patients develops progressive fibrosis and ultimately cirrhosis. Various dietary components have been shown to contribute to the development of liver disease, including fat, sugars, and neonatal treatment with high doses of monosodium glutamate (MSG). However, rodent models of progressive disease have been disappointing, and alternative animal models of diet-induced liver disease would be desirable, particularly if they contribute to our knowledge of changes in gene expression as a result of dietary manipulation. The domestic cat has previously been shown to be an appropriate model for examining metabolic changes-associated human diseases such as diabetes. Our aim was therefore to compare changes in hepatic gene expression induced by dietary MSG, with that of a diet containing Trans-fat and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), using a feline model. MSG treatment increased adiposity and promoted hepatic steatosis compared to control (P < 0.05). Exposure to Trans-fat and HFCS promoted hepatic fibrosis and markers of liver dysfunction. Affymetrix microarray analysis of hepatic gene expression showed that dietary MSG promoted the expression of genes involved in cholesterol and steroid metabolism. Conversely, Trans-fat and HFCS feeding promoted the expression of genes involved in lipolysis, glycolysis, liver damage/regeneration, and fibrosis. Our feline model examining gene-diet interactions (nutrigenomics) demonstrates how dietary MSG, Trans-fat, and HFCS may contribute to the development of hepatic steatosis.

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