ABSTRACT: Consumption of beverages that contain fructose favors the increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome alterations in humans, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although the only effective treatment for NAFLD is caloric restriction and weight loss, existing data show that atorvastatin, a hydroxymethyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitor, can be used safely in patients with NAFLD and improves hepatic histology. To gain further insight into the molecular mechanisms of atorvastatin's therapeutic effect on NAFLD, we used an experimental model that mimics human consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages. Control, fructose (10% w/v solution) and fructose+atorvastatin (30 mg/kg/day) Sprague-Dawley rats were sacrificed after 14 days. Plasma and liver tissue samples were obtained to determine plasma analytes, liver histology, and the expression of liver proteins that are related to fatty acid synthesis and catabolism, and inflammatory processes. Fructose supplementation induced hypertriglyceridemia and hyperleptinemia, hepatic steatosis and necroinflammation, increased the expression of genes related to fatty acid synthesis and decreased fatty acid β-oxidation activity. Atorvastatin treatment completely abolished histological signs of necroinflammation, reducing the hepatic expression of metallothionein-1 and nuclear factor kappa B binding. Furthermore, atorvastatin reduced plasma (x 0.74) and liver triglyceride (x 0.62) concentrations, decreased the liver expression of carbohydrate response element binding protein transcription factor (x 0.45) and its target genes, and increased the hepatic activity of the fatty acid β-oxidation system (x 1.15). These effects may be related to the fact that atorvastatin decreased the expression of fructokinase (x 0.6) in livers of fructose-supplemented rats, reducing the metabolic burden on the liver that is imposed by continuous fructose ingestion.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 02/2011; 251(1):32-40. · 4.45 Impact Factor