Methionine restriction prevents the progression of hepatic steatosis in leptin-deficient obese mice

Virginia L Malloy, Carmen E Perrone, Dwight A L Mattocks, Gene P Ables, Nicholas S Caliendo, David S Orentreich, Norman Orentreich
Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental 2013, 62 (11): 1651-61

OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the effects of dietary methionine restriction (MR) on the progression of established hepatic steatosis in the leptin-deficient ob/ob mouse.

MATERIAL/METHODS: Ten-week-old ob/ob mice were fed diets containing 0.86% (control-fed; CF) or 0.12% methionine (MR) for 14 weeks. At 14 weeks, liver and fat were excised and blood was collected for analysis. In another study, blood was collected to determine in vivo triglyceride (TG) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) secretion rates. Liver histology was conducted to determine the severity of steatosis. Hepatic TG, free fatty acid levels, and fatty acid oxidation (FAO) were also measured. Gene expression was analyzed by quantitative PCR.

RESULTS: MR reversed the severity of steatosis in the ob/ob mouse. This was accompanied by reduced body weight despite similar weight-specific food intake. Compared with the CF group, hepatic TG levels were significantly reduced in response to MR, but adipose tissue weight was not decreased. MR reduced insulin and HOMA ratios but increased total and high-molecular-weight adiponectin levels. Scd1 gene expression was significantly downregulated, while Acadvl, Hadha, and Hadhb were upregulated in MR, corresponding with increased β-hydroxybutyrate levels and a trend toward increased FAO. The VLDL secretion rate was also significantly increased in the MR mice, as were the mRNA levels of ApoB and Mttp. The expression of inflammatory markers, such as Tnf-α and Ccr2, was also downregulated by MR.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that MR reverses steatosis in the ob/ob mouse liver by promoting FAO, increasing the export of lipids, and reducing obesity-related inflammatory responses.

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