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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Oct;90(4):1002-10. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.27296. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

High protein intake reduces intrahepatocellular lipid deposition in humans.

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1
Department of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

High sugar and fat intakes are known to increase intrahepatocellular lipids (IHCLs) and to cause insulin resistance. High protein intake may facilitate weight loss and improve glucose homeostasis in insulin-resistant patients, but its effects on IHCLs remain unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim was to assess the effect of high protein intake on high-fat diet-induced IHCL accumulation and insulin sensitivity in healthy young men.

DESIGN:

Ten volunteers were studied in a crossover design after 4 d of either a hypercaloric high-fat (HF) diet; a hypercaloric high-fat, high-protein (HFHP) diet; or a control, isocaloric (control) diet. IHCLs were measured by (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy, fasting metabolism was measured by indirect calorimetry, insulin sensitivity was measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, and plasma concentrations were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; expression of key lipogenic genes was assessed in subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsy specimens.

RESULTS:

The HF diet increased IHCLs by 90 +/- 26% and plasma tissue-type plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (tPAI-1) by 54 +/- 11% (P < 0.02 for both) and inhibited plasma free fatty acids by 26 +/- 11% and beta-hydroxybutyrate by 61 +/- 27% (P < 0.05 for both). The HFHP diet blunted the increase in IHCLs and normalized plasma beta-hydroxybutyrate and tPAI-1 concentrations. Insulin sensitivity was not altered, whereas the expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c and key lipogenic genes increased with the HF and HFHP diets (P < 0.02). Bile acid concentrations remained unchanged after the HF diet but increased by 50 +/- 24% after the HFHP diet (P = 0.14).

CONCLUSIONS:

Protein intake significantly blunts the effects of an HF diet on IHCLs and tPAI-1 through effects presumably exerted at the level of the liver. Protein-induced increases in bile acid concentrations may be involved. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00523562.

PMID:
19710199
DOI:
10.3945/ajcn.2008.27296
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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