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High protein (HP) diets are suggested to positively modulate obesity and associated increased prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) disease in humans and rodents. The aim of our study was to detect mechanisms by which a HP diet affects hepatic lipid accumulation. To investigate the acute and long term effect of high protein ingestion on hepatic lipid accumulation under both low and high fat (HF) conditions, mice were fed combinations of high (35 energy%) or low (10 energy%) fat and high (50 energy%) or normal (15 energy%) protein diets for 1 or 12 weeks. Effects on body composition, liver fat, VLDL production rate and the hepatic transcriptome were investigated. Mice fed the HP diets displayed a lower body weight, developed less adiposity and decreased hepatic lipid accumulation, which could be attributed to a combination of several processes. Next to an increased hepatic VLDL production rate, increased energy utilisation due to enhanced protein catabolic processes, such as transamination, TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation was found upon high protein ingestion. Feeding a HP diet prevented the development of NAFLD by enhancing lipid secretion into VLDL particles and a less efficient use of ingested calories.

Citation

Jessica Schwarz, Daniel Tomé, Annemarie Baars, Guido J E J Hooiveld, Michael Müller. Dietary protein affects gene expression and prevents lipid accumulation in the liver in mice. PloS one. 2012;7(10):e47303

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PMID: 23110065

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