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Physiol Genomics. 2012 Nov 15;44(22):1073-89. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00069.2012. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Dietary fat source alters hepatic gene expression profile and determines the type of liver pathology in rats overfed via total enteral nutrition.

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  • 1Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202, USA.


To determine if dietary fat composition affects the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), we overfed male Sprague-Dawley rats low (5%) or high (70%) fat diets with different fat sources: olive oil (OO), corn oil (CO), or echium oil (EO), with total enteral nutrition (TEN) for 21 days. Overfeeding of the 5% CO or 5% EO diets resulted in less steatosis than 5% OO (P < 0.05). Affymetrix array analysis revealed significant differences in hepatic gene expression signatures associated with greater fatty acid synthesis, ChREBP, and SREBP-1c signaling and increased fatty acid transport (P < 0.05) in the 5% OO compared with 5% CO group. The OO groups had macrosteatosis, but no evidence of oxidative stress or necrosis. The 70% CO and 70% EO groups had a mixture of micro- and macrosteatosis or only microsteatosis, respectively; increased oxidative stress; and increased necrotic injury relative to their respective 5% groups (P < 0.05). Oxidative stress and necrosis correlated with increasing peroxidizability of the accumulated triglycerides. Affymetrix array analysis comparing the 70% OO and 70% CO groups revealed increased antioxidant pathways and lower expression of genes linked to inflammation and fibrosis in the 70% OO group. A second study in which 70% OO diet was overfed for 50 days produced no evidence of progression of injury beyond simple steatosis. These data suggest that dietary fat type strongly influences the progression of NAFLD and that a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil may reduce the risk of NAFLD progressing to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

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