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Sci Rep. 2019 May 30;9(1):8107. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-44563-y.

Effects of açai on oxidative stress, ER stress, and inflammation-related parameters in mice with high fat diet-fed induced NAFLD.

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Research Center in Biological Sciences; Postgraduate Program in Biological Sciences, Federal University of Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil.
Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil.
Department of Foods, Federal University of Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Institute of Biotechnology, Federal University of Uberlândia, Patos de Minas Campus, Patos de Minas, MG, Brazil.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most predominant liver disease worldwide, is a progressive condition that encompasses a spectrum of disorders ranging from steatosis to steatohepatitis, and, ultimately, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Although the underlying mechanism is complex and multifactorial, several intracellular events leading to its progression have been identified, including oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, and altered endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis. Phenolic compounds, such as those present in açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.), are considered promising therapeutic agents due to their possible beneficial effects on the prevention and treatment of NAFLD. We tested in vitro effects of aqueous açai extract (AAE) in HepG2 cells and its influence on oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and inflammation in a murine model of high fat diet-induced NAFLD. In vitro AAE exhibited high antioxidant capacity, high potential to inhibit reactive oxygen species production, and no cytotoxicity. In vivo, AAE administration (3 g/kg) for six weeks attenuated liver damage (alanine aminotransferase levels), inflammatory process (number of inflammatory cells and serum TNFα), and oxidative stress, through the reduction of lipid peroxidation and carbonylation of proteins determined by OxyBlot and modulation of the antioxidant enzymes: glutathione reductase, SOD and catalase. No change was observed in collagen content indicating an absence of fibrosis, stress-related genes in RE, and protein expression of caspase-3, a marker of apoptosis. With these results, we provide evidence that açai exhibits hepatoprotective effects and may prevent the progression of liver damage related to NAFLD by targeting pathways involved in its progression.

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