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J Mol Endocrinol. 2016 Nov;57(4):261-273. Epub 2016 Oct 5.

Additive effects of dexamethasone and palmitate on hepatic lipid accumulation and secretion.

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Department of PhysiologyMedical University of Bialystok, Białsytok, Podlaskie, Poland.
Department of PhysiologyMedical University of Bialystok, Białsytok, Podlaskie, Poland


Synthetic and natural glucocorticoids are able to highly modify liver lipid metabolism, which is possibly associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease development. We have assessed the changes in lipid and sphingolipid contents in hepatocytes, lipid composition and saturation status as well as the expression of proteins involved in fatty acid transport after both dexamethasone and palmitate treatments. The experiments were conducted on primary rat hepatocytes, incubated with dexamethasone and/or palmitic acid during short (16 h) and prolonged (40 h) exposure. Intracellular and extracellular lipid and sphingolipid contents were assessed by gas liquid chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively. The expression of selected proteins was estimated by Western blotting. Short and prolonged exposure to dexamethasone combined with palmitic acid resulted in increased expression of fatty acid transporters, which was subsequently reflected by excessive intracellular accumulation of triacylglycerols and ceramide. The expression of microsomal transfer protein and cassette transporter was also significantly increased after dexamethasone and palmitate treatment, which was in accordance with elevated extracellular lipid and sphingolipid contents. Our data showed additive effects of dexamethasone and palmitate on protein-dependent fatty acid uptake in primary hepatocytes, resulting in the increased accumulation of triacylglycerols and sphingolipids. Moreover, the combined treatment altered fatty acid composition and diminished triacylglycerols desaturation index. Importantly, we observed that additive effects on both increased microsomal transport protein expression as well as elevated export of triacylglycerols, which may be relevant as a liver protective mechanism.


desaturation index; dexamethasone; fatty acids; glucocorticoids; lipid transporters

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