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J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2019 Jan;64(1):59-65. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.18-35. Epub 2018 Oct 2.

5-Aminolevulinic acid with ferrous iron improves early renal damage and hepatic steatosis in high fat diet-induced obese mice.

Author information

SBI Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., 1-6-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-6020, Japan.
Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, Kochi Medical School, Kohasu, Oko, Nankoku, Kochi 783-8505, Japan.
Department of Urology, Kochi Medical School, Kohasu, Oko, Nankoku, Kochi 783-8505, Japan.


5-Aminolevulinic acid, a natural amino acid, activates mitochondrial respiration and induces heme oxygenase-1 expression. Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus are associated with age-related mitochondrial respiration defect, oxidative stress and inflammation. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of 5-aminolevulinic acid with sodium ferrous citrate on early renal damage and hepatic steatosis. 7-Month-old C57BL/6 mice were fed with a standard diet or high fat diet for 9 weeks, which were orally administered 300 mg/kg 5-aminolevulinic acid combined with 47 mg/kg sodium ferrous citrate (5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate) or vehicle for the last 5 weeks. We observed that 5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate significantly decreased body weight, fat weight, hepatic lipid deposits and improved levels of blood glucose and oral glucose tolerance test. In addition, 5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate suppressed increased glomerular tuft area in high fat diet-fed mice, which was associated with increased heme oxygenase-1 protein expression. Our findings demonstrate additional evidence that 5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate could improve glucose and lipid metabolism in diabetic mice. 5-Aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate has potential application in obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus-associated disease such as diabetic nephropathy and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.


5-aminolevulinic acid; diabetic nephropathy; heme oxygenase-1; hepatic steatosis; high fat diet

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interest. A. Kamiya, T. Hara, Y. Kuroda, U. Ota, M. Ishizuka, M. Nakajima, T. Tanaka are employees of SBI Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.

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