Toxicology letters

Mice in the early stage of liver steatosis caused by a high fat diet are resistant to thioacetamide-induced hepatotoxicity and oxidative stress.

PMID 28642009


Lipogenesis is stimulated in the liver by an unfolded protein response (UPR) to endoplasmic reticulum stress under a variety of pathological conditions and results in the accumulation of lipids in hepatocytes. Assuming that UPR is a protective mechanism against stress, we hypothesized that the accumulated lipids might have a beneficial function. We prepared mice with fatty livers by feeding two types of high-calorie diets; a lard-rich high-calorie diet (LHD) or a menhaden oil-containing high-calorie diet (MHD), for two weeks and treated them, as well as control diet (CD)-fed mice, with thioacetamide (TAA), a liver toxicant. When a lethal dose (500mg/kg) of TAA was administered, the LHD-fed mice and the MHD-fed mice survived longer than those fed with CD. The accumulated lipids appeared to be associated with protecting the liver against TAA toxicity (200mg/kg). Consistently, lipid-loaded Hepa 1-6 cells showed a partial resistance to hydrogen peroxide toxicity compared to those cultured in conventional media. In conclusion, while sustained steatosis impairs liver function and leads to hazardous conditions, lipids that transiently accumulate as the result of UPR or other stimuli may exert a beneficial function in the liver at least partly through scavenging reactive oxygen species.