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Nutrients. 2013 Oct 22;5(10):4211-30. doi: 10.3390/nu5104211.

Manifestations of fasting-induced fatty liver and rapid recovery from steatosis in voles fed lard or flaxseed oil lipids.

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  • 1Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of Biomedicine/Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, Kuopio FI-70211, Finland. Anne-Mari.Mustonen@uef.fi.


Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can have beneficial effects against fat deposition, cardiovascular diseases, and liver steatosis. We investigated how diets based on lard (predominantly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids) or flaxseed oil (rich in 18:3n-3) affect liver fat-% and fatty acid profiles of tundra voles (Microtus oeconomus). We also studied potential participation of hyaluronan (HA) in the pathology of fatty liver and whether the development and recovery of fasting-induced steatosis are influenced by n-3 PUFA. The dietary fatty acid composition was manifested in the liver fatty acid signatures. Fasting for 18 h induced macrovesicular steatosis and the liver fat-% increased to 22% independent of the preceding diet. Fasting-induced steatosis did not involve inflammation or connective tissue activation indicated by the absence of both leukocyte accumulation and increased HA. Food deprivation modified the liver fatty acid signatures to resemble more closely the diets. Fasting reduced the proportions of long-chain n-3 PUFA in both dietary regimes and n-3/n-6 PUFA ratios in the lard-fed voles. Decreases in long-chain n-3 PUFA may promote lipid accumulation by modulating the expression of lipid-metabolizing genes. Dietary 18:3n-3 did not prevent the development or attenuate the manifestation of steatosis in the fasted voles or promote the recovery.

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