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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2017;43(2):644-659. doi: 10.1159/000480649. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

A Novel Role of SIRT1/ FGF-21 in Taurine Protection Against Cafeteria Diet-Induced Steatohepatitis in Rats.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine for Girls (Cairo), Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.
Department of Biochemistry Faculty of Pharmacy, Misr International University, Cairo, Egypt.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine for Girls (Cairo), Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.



Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the alarmingly rising clinical problems in the 21st century with no effective drug treatment until now. Taurine is an essential amino acid in humans that proved efficacy as a non-pharmacological therapy in a plethora of diseases; however, its impact on NAFLD remains elusive. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the protective mechanism of taurine in experimental steatohepatitis induced by junk food given as cafeteria-diet (CAF-D) in male albino rats.


Forty adult male albino rats of local strain between 8-10 weeks old, weighing 150 ± 20 g, were divided into four equal groups: Group I (control group), Group II (Taurine group), Group III (CAF-D for 12 weeks) and Group IV (CAF-D +Taurine). CAF-D was given in addition to the standard chow for 12 weeks, where each rat was given one piece of beef burger fried in 15 g of sunflower oil, one teaspoonful of mayonnaise, and one piece of petit pan bread, weighing 60g/ piece. In the serum, liver function tests; ALT, AST, ALP, GGT and the lipid profile; TG, TC, HDL-C added to reduced glutathione (GSH) were assessed colorimetrically, while fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-21, adiponectin & interleukin (IL)-6 via ELISA. The same technique was used for the assays of the hepatic levels of FGF-21, silent information regulator (SIRT1), malondialdehyde (MDA),IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) as well as the apoptotic markers; caspase-3 and B-cell lymphoma (Bcl-2).


The cafeteria-diet induced steatohepatitis was reflected by significantly increased body and liver weight gain, elevation of liver enzymes; ALT, AST, ALP and GGT added to the dyslipidemic panel, presented as increased TC, TG, LDL-C and decreased HDL-C levels. The steatosis-induced inflammatory milieu, marked by elevated serum levels of FGF-21, IL-6, hepatic TNF-α, as well as reduced IL-10 and adiponectin, was associated with steatosis- induced hepatic oxidative stress, reflected by increased hepatic MDA and decreased GSH levels, along with stimulated caspase-3 and decline in BcL-2 hepatic levels. These pathological disturbances were significantly ameliorated by taurine supplementation and evidenced histopathologically. The cross talk between hepatic FGF-21 and SIRT1 and their association to the induced perturbations are novel findings in this study. Taurine's efficacy in restoration of hepatic structure and function is partially via the increase in SIRT1 and associated reduction of FGF-21.


The findings of the current study prove the protective role of taurine in NAFLD via a novel role in the amelioration of FGF-21/ SIRT1 axis, which could be considered a new therapeutic target.


Cafeteria diet; FGF-21; Hepatokine; SIRT1; Taurine

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