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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38797. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038797. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

A krill oil supplemented diet suppresses hepatic steatosis in high-fat fed rats.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy.


Krill oil (KO) is a dietary source of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly represented by eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid bound to phospholipids. The supplementation of a high-fat diet with 2.5% KO efficiently prevented triglyceride and cholesterol accumulation in liver of treated rats. This effect was accompanied by a parallel reduction of the plasma levels of triglycerides and glucose and by the prevention of a plasma insulin increase. The investigation of the molecular mechanisms of KO action in high-fat fed animals revealed a strong decrease in the activities of the mitochondrial citrate carrier and of the cytosolic acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthetase, which are both involved in hepatic de novo lipogenesis. In these animals a significant increase in the activity of carnitine palmitoyl-transferase I and in the levels of carnitine was also observed, suggesting a concomitant stimulation of hepatic fatty acid oxidation. The KO supplemented animals also retained an efficient mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, most probably as a consequence of a KO-induced arrest of the uncoupling effects of a high-fat diet. Lastly, the KO supplementation prevented an increase in body weight, as well as oxidative damage of lipids and proteins, which is often found in high-fat fed animals.

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