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Life Sci. 2012 Jan 30;90(5-6):200-5. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2011.11.012. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

Alpha-lipoic acid attenuates methionine choline deficient diet-induced steatohepatitis in C57BL/6 mice.

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World Class University Program, Department of Internal Medicine, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, 700-721, South Korea.



Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a liver disease that causes fat accumulation, inflammation and fibrosis. Increased oxidative stress contributes to hepatic inflammation and fibrosis by upregulation of Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity. This study examined whether alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), a naturally occurring thiol antioxidant, prevents steatohepatitis through the inhibition of several pathways involved in hepatic inflammation and fibrosis.


C57BL/6 mice were fed an MCD diet with or without ALA for 4weeks. Liver sections from mice on control or MCD diets with or without ALA were stained with hematoxylin-eosin, oil red O, and anti-4-HNE antibody. The effects of ALA on methionine-choline deficient MCD-diet induced plasma AST and ALT as well as tissue TBARS were measured. The effects of ALA on CYP2E1 expression, ER stress, MAPK levels, and NF-κB activity in MCD diet-fed mice liver were measured by northern and western blot analysis.


Dietary supplementation with ALA reduced MCD diet-induced hepatic lipid accumulation, hepatic inflammation, TBARS, 4-HNE, and plasma ALT and AST levels. These effects were associated with a reduced expression of CYP2E1 and reduced ER stress and MAPK and NF-κB activity.


Taken together, the results of the present study indicate that ALA attenuates steatohepatitis through inhibition of several pathways, and provide the possibility that ALA can be used to prevent the development and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients who have strong risk factors for NASH.

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