Lycopene and apo-10'-lycopenoic acid have differential mechanisms of protection against hepatic steatosis in β-carotene-9',10'-oxygenase knockout male mice

Blanche C Ip, Chun Liu, Alice H Lichtenstein, Johannes von Lintig, Xiang-Dong Wang
Journal of Nutrition 2015, 145 (2): 268-76

BACKGROUND: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is positively associated with obesity and cardiovascular disease risk. Apo-10'-lycopenoic acid (APO10LA), a potential oxidation product of apo-10'-lycopenal that is generated endogenously by β-carotene-9',10'-oxygenase (BCO2) cleavage of lycopene, inhibited hepatic steatosis in BCO2-expressing mice.

OBJECTIVE: The present study evaluated lycopene and APO10LA effects on hepatic steatosis in mice without BCO2 expression.

METHODS: Male and female BCO2-knockout (BCO2-KO) mice were fed a high saturated fat diet (HSFD) with or without APO10LA (10 mg/kg diet) or lycopene (100 mg/kg diet) for 12 wk.

RESULTS: Lycopene or APO10LA supplementation reduced hepatic steatosis incidence (78% and 72%, respectively) and severity in BCO2-KO male mice. Female mice did not develop steatosis, had greater hepatic total cholesterol (3.06 vs. 2.31 mg/g tissue) and cholesteryl ester (1.58 vs. 0.86 mg/g tissue), but had lower plasma triglyceride (TG) (229 vs. 282 mg/dL) and cholesterol (97.1 vs. 119 mg/dL) than male mice. APO10LA-mitigated steatosis in males was associated with reduced hepatic total cholesterol (18%) and activated sirtuin 1 signaling, which resulted in reduced fatty acids (FAs) and TG synthesis markers [stearoyl-coenzyme A (CoA) desaturase protein, 71%; acetyl-CoA carboxylase phosphorylation, 79%; AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation, 67%], and elevated cholesterol efflux genes (cytochrome P450 family 7A1, 65%; ATP-binding cassette transporter G5/8, 11%). These APO10LA-mediated effects were not mimicked by lycopene supplementation. Intriguingly, steatosis inhibition by lycopene induced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)α- and PPARγ-related genes in mesenteric adipose tissue (MAT) that increases mitochondrial uncoupling [cell death-inducing DNA fragmentation factor, α subunit-like effector a, 55%; PR domain-containing 16, 47%; uncoupling protein 3 (Ucp3), 55%], FA β-oxidation (PPARα, 53%; very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 38%), and uptake (FA transport protein 4, 29%; lipoprotein lipase 43%). Expressions of 10 MAT PPAR-related genes were inversely correlated with steatosis score, suggesting that lycopene reduced steatosis by increasing MAT FA utilization.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that lycopene and APO10LA inhibit HSFD-induced steatosis in BCO2-KO male mice through differential mechanisms. Sex disparity of BCO2-KO mice was observed in the outcomes of HSFD-induced liver steatosis and plasma lipids.

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