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Sci Rep. 2016 May 25;6:26826. doi: 10.1038/srep26826.

Dietary α-linolenic acid-rich flaxseed oil prevents against alcoholic hepatic steatosis via ameliorating lipid homeostasis at adipose tissue-liver axis in mice.

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State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macao.
Department of Bioengineering, Zunyi Medical College, Zhuhai Campus, Zhuhai, Guangdong, China.


Low levels of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in serum and liver tissue biopsies are the common characteristics in patients with alcoholic liver disease. The α-linolenic acid (ALA) is a plant-derived n-3 PUFA and is rich in flaxseed oil. However, the impact of ALA on alcoholic fatty liver is largely unknown. In this study, we assessed the potential protective effects of ALA-rich flaxseed oil (FO) on ethanol-induced hepatic steatosis and observed that dietary FO supplementation effectively attenuated the ethanol-induced hepatic lipid accumulation in mice. Ethanol exposure stimulated adipose lipolysis but reduced fatty acid/lipid uptake, which were normalized by FO. Our investigations into the corresponding mechanisms demonstrated that the ameliorating effect of FO might be associated with the lower endoplasmic reticulum stress and normalized lipid metabolism in adipose tissue. In the liver, alcohol exposure stimulated hepatic fatty acid uptake and triglyceride synthesis, which were attenuated by FO. Additionally, dietary FO upregulated plasma adiponectin concentration, hepatic adiponectin receptor 2 expression, and the activation of hepatic adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase. Collectively, dietary FO protects against alcoholic hepatic steatosis by improving lipid homeostasis at the adipose tissue-liver axis, suggesting that dietary ALA-rich flaxseed oil might be a promising approach for prevention of alcoholic fatty liver.

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