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J Nutr. 2017 Jun;147(6):1104-1112. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.243204. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Silicon Alleviates Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis by Reducing Apoptosis in Aged Wistar Rats Fed a High-Saturated Fat, High-Cholesterol Diet.

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Department of Pharmacology.
Department of Nutrition and Bromatology I, and.
Departmental Section of Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, and.
Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Nutrition and Bromatology I, and


Background: Lipoapoptosis has been identified as a key event in the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and hence, antiapoptotic agents have been recommended as a possible effective treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Silicon, included in meat as a functional ingredient, improves lipoprotein profiles and liver antioxidant defenses in aged rats fed a high-saturated fat, high-cholesterol diet (HSHCD). However, to our knowledge, the antiapoptotic effect of this potential functional meat on the liver has never been tested.Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the effect of silicon on NASH development and the potential antiapoptotic properties of silicon in aged rats.Methods: One-year-old male Wistar rats weighing ∼500 g were fed 3 experimental diets containing restructured pork (RP) for 8 wk: 1) a high-saturated fat diet, as an NAFLD control, with 16.9% total fat, 0.14 g cholesterol/kg diet, and 46.8 mg SiO2/kg (control); 2) the HSHCD as a model of NASH, with 16.6% total fat, 16.3 g cholesterol/kg diet, and 46.8 mg SiO2/kg [high-cholesterol diet (Chol-C)]; and 3) the HSHCD with silicon-supplemented RP with amounts of fat and cholesterol identical to those in the Chol-C diet, but with 750 mg SiO2/kg (Chol-Si). Detailed histopathological assessments were performed, and the NAFLD activity score (NAS) was calculated. Liver apoptosis and damage markers were evaluated by Western blotting and immunohistochemical staining.Results: Chol-C rats had a higher mean NAS (7.4) than did control rats (1.9; P < 0.001). The score in Chol-Si rats (5.4) was intermediate and different from that in both other groups (P < 0.05). Several liver apoptosis markers-including hepatocyte terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase 2'-deoxyuridine 5'-triphosphate (dUTP) nick end labeling, cytosolic cytochrome c, apoptosis-inducing factor, caspases 9 and 3, and the mitochondrial Bcl-2-associated X protein (BAX)-to-B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) ratio-were 9-45% lower in Chol-Si than in Chol-C rats (P < 0.05) and did not differ from values in the control group.Conclusions: Supplemental silicon substantially affects NASH development in aged male Wistar rats fed an HSHCD by partially blocking apoptosis. These results suggest that silicon-enriched RP could be used as an effective nutritional strategy in preventing NASH.


NAFLD; NASH; Si-enriched restructured pork; Wistar rats; aging; lipoapoptosis

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