Triterpenoid-rich fraction from Ilex hainanensis Merr. attenuates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease induced by high fat diet in rats

Wei-Xi Cui, Jie Yang, Xiao-Qing Chen, Qian Mao, Xiang-Lan Wei, Xiao-Dong Wen, Qiang Wang
American Journal of Chinese Medicine 2013, 41 (3): 487-502
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become a major challenge to the healthcare system. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of the triterpenoid-rich fraction (TF) from Ilex hainanensis Merr. on NAFLD. Male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were fed a normal diet (control) or high fat diet (NAFLD model). After four weeks, the high fat diet group was orally administrated TF (250 mg/kg) for another two weeks. High fat diet fed rats displayed hyperlipidemia and a decline in liver function compared with control. However, administration with TF could effectively improve these symptoms, as demonstrated by decreasing the plasma levels of triglyceride (p <0.05), total cholesterol (p < 0.01), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p < 0.05), alanine transaminase (p < 0.05), aspartate aminotransferase (p < 0.01), liver index (p < 0.05) and insulin resistance index (p < 0.05) while increasing the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, histopathological examination of livers also showed that TF could reduce the incidence of liver lesions induced by high fat diet. Furthermore, TF could alleviate oxidative stress and inflammation status indicated by the decline malondialdehyde and superoxide dismutase levels (p < 0.01, both) and levels of interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor-α (p < 0.05). In addition, immunohistochemistry showed TF evidently elevated the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPARα) expression (p < 0.01), while it diminished the Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) expression (p < 0.01) in liver. These results demonstrate that TF has potential ability to protect liver against NAFLD by regulating lipids metabolism and alleviating insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress. This effect might be associated with regulating PPARα and CYP2E1 expression.

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