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J Lipid Res. 2009 Aug;50(8):1521-37. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M800418-JLR200. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Effect of dietary monosodium glutamate on trans fat-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Cell Biology and Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Biological and Medical Research, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia.


The effects of dietary monosodium glutamate (MSG) on trans-fatty acid (TFA)-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are addressed in an animal model. We used Affymetrix microarray analysis to investigate hepatic gene expression and the contribution of visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) to diet-induced NAFLD. Trans-fat feeding increased serum leptin, FFA, HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), and total cholesterol (T-CHOL) levels, while robustly elevating the expression of genes involved in hepatic lipogenesis, including the transcription factor sterol-regulatory element binding protein 1c. Histological examination revealed hepatic macrosteatosis in TFA-fed animals. Conversely, dietary MSG at doses similar to human average daily intake caused hepatic microsteatosis and the expression of beta-oxidative genes. Serum triglyceride, FFA, and insulin levels were elevated in MSG-treated animals. The abdominal cavities of TFA- or MSG-treated animals had increased WAT deposition compared with controls. Microarray analysis of WAT gene expression revealed increased lipid biosynthetic gene expression, together with a 50% decrease in the key transcription factor Ppargc1a. A combination of TFA+MSG resulted in the highest levels of serum HDL-C, T-CHOL, and leptin. Microarray analysis of TFA+MSG-treated livers showed elevated expression of markers of hepatic inflammation, lipid storage, cell damage, and cell cycle impairment. TFA+MSG mice also had a high degree of WAT deposition and lipogenic gene expression. Levels of Ppargc1a were further reduced to 25% by TFA+MSG treatment. MSG exacerbates TFA-induced NAFLD.

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