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Reduced mitochondrial fatty acid (FA) β-oxidation can cause accumulation of triglyceride in liver, while intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has been recommended as a promising novel therapy to decrease hepatic triglyceride content. However, reduced mitochondrial FA β-oxidation also facilitates accumulation of EPA. To investigate the interplay between EPA administration, mitochondrial activity and hepatic triglyceride accumulation, we investigated the effects of EPA administration to carnitine-deficient mice with impaired mitochondrial FA β-oxidation. C57BL/6J mice received a high-fat diet supplemented or not with 3% EPA in the presence or absence of 500 mg mildronate/kg/day for 10 days. Liver mitochondrial and peroxisomal oxidation, lipid classes and FA composition were determined. Histological staining was performed and mRNA level of genes related to lipid metabolism and inflammation in liver and adipose tissue was determined. Levels of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines were measured in plasma. The results showed that mildronate treatment decreased hepatic carnitine concentration and mitochondrial FA β-oxidation and induced severe triglyceride accumulation accompanied by elevated systemic inflammation. Surprisingly, inclusion of EPA in the diet exacerbated the mildronate-induced triglyceride accumulation. This was accompanied by a considerable increase of EPA accumulation while decreased total n-3/n-6 ratio in liver. However, inclusion of EPA in the diet attenuated the mildronate-induced mRNA expression of inflammatory genes in adipose tissue. Taken together, dietary supplementation with EPA exacerbated the triglyceride accumulation induced by impaired mitochondrial FA β-oxidation. Thus, further thorough evaluation of the potential risk of EPA supplementation as a therapy for NAFLD associated with impaired mitochondrial FA oxidation is warranted. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Zhen-Yu Du, Tao Ma, Bjørn Liaset, Alison H Keenan, Pedro Araujo, Erik-Jan Lock, Laurent Demizieux, Pascal Degrace, Livar Frøyland, Karsten Kristiansen, Lise Madsen. Dietary eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation accentuates hepatic triglyceride accumulation in mice with impaired fatty acid oxidation capacity. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013 Feb;1831(2):291-9

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PMID: 23085008

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