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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Melatonin Modulates lipid Metabolism in HepG2 Cells Cultured in High Concentrations of Oleic Acid: AMPK Pathway Activation may Play an Important Role

Yan Mi, Dehong Tan, Yin He, Xin Zhou, Qian Zhou, Shujuan Ji
Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics 2018, 76 (4): 463-470
30324559
Melatonin exists as an active ingredient in several foods and has been reported to inhibit fatty liver disease in animals; however, its molecular mechanisms are not well elucidated. Herein, we explored effects of melatonin on lipid accumulation induced by oleic acid in HepG2 cells and characterized the underlying molecular mechanisms. Pretreatment with melatonin (0.1-0.3 mM) significantly inhibited accumulation of triglyceride and cholesterol induced by incubating HepG2 cells with high concentrations of oleic acid (oleic acid overload) (p < 0.05). Melatonin pretreatment induced phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), causing their activation and inactivation, respectively. Expression levels of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-α (PPARα) and its target gene carnitine palmitoyl-CoA transferase 1 (CPT1), which are associated with lipolysis, were upregulated by melatonin, whereas expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c), fatty acid synthase (FAS), and stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1), which are associated with lipogenesis, were downregulated. Melatonin did not change expression of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism, including 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (HMGR) and SREBP-2. Melatonin inhibits lipid accumulation induced by oleic acid overload in HepG2 cells. The phosphorylation and activation of AMPK may have important roles in inactivating lipid anabolic pathways and activating triglyceride catabolic pathways.

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