Discovery - University of Dundee - Online Publications

Library & Learning Centre

Metabolic pathways promoting intrahepatic fatty acid accumulation in methionine and choline deficiency

Metabolic pathways promoting intrahepatic fatty acid accumulation in methionine and choline deficiency: implications for the pathogenesis of steatohepatitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View graph of relations


  • David P. Macfarlane
  • Xiantong Zou
  • Ruth Andrew
  • Nicholas M. Morton
  • Dawn E. W. Livingstone
  • Rebecca L. Aucott
  • Moffat J. Nyirenda
  • John P. Iredale
  • Brian R. Walker


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E402-E409
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


The pathological mechanisms that distinguish simple steatosis from steatohepatitis (or NASH, with consequent risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer) remain incompletely defined. Whereas both a methionine-and choline-deficient diet (MCDD) and a choline-deficient diet (CDD) lead to hepatic triglyceride accumulation, MCDD alone is associated with hepatic insulin resistance and inflammation (steatohepatitis). We used metabolic tracer techniques, including stable isotope ([C-13(4)]palmitate) dilution and mass isotopomer distribution analysis (MIDA) of [C-13(2)] acetate, to define differences in intrahepatic fatty acid metabolism that could explain the contrasting effect of MCDD and CDD on NASH in C57Bl6 mice. Compared with control-supplemented (CS) diet, liver triglyceride pool sizes were similarly elevated in CDD and MCDD groups (24.37 +/- 2.4, 45.94 +/- 3.9, and 43.30 +/- 3.5 mu mol/liver for CS, CDD, and MCDD, respectively), but intrahepatic neutrophil infiltration and plasma alanine aminotransferase (31 +/- 3, 48 +/- 4, 231 +/- 79 U/l, P < 0.05) were elevated only in MCDD mice. However, despite loss of peripheral fat in MCDD mice, neither the rate of appearance of palmitate (27.2 +/- 3.5, 26.3 +/- 2.3, and 28.3 +/- 3.5 mu nor the contribution of circulating fatty acids to the liver triglyceride pool differed between groups. Unlike CDD, MCDD had a defect in hepatic triglyceride export that was confirmed using intravenous tyloxapol (142 +/- 21, 122 +/- 15, and 80 +/- 7, P < 0.05). Moreover, hepatic de novo lipogenesis was significantly elevated in the MCDD group only (1.4 +/- 0.3, 2.3 +/- 0.4, and 3.4 +/- 0.4 mu mol/day, P < 0.01). These findings suggest that important alterations in hepatic fatty acid metabolism may promote the development of steatohepatitis. Similar mechanisms may predispose to hepatocyte damage in human NASH.



Library & Learning Centre

Contact | Accessibility | Policy