The Effects of Butyrate on Induced Metabolic-Associated Fatty Liver Disease in Precision-Cut Liver Slices

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Abstract

Metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) starts with hepatic triglyceride accumulation (steatosis) and can progress to more severe stages such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and even cirrhosis. Butyrate, and butyrate-producing bacteria, have been suggested to reduce liver steatosis directly and systemically by increasing liver β-oxidation. This study aimed to examine the influence of butyrate directly on the liver in an ex vivo induced MAFLD model. To maintain essential intercellular interactions, precision-cut liver slices (PCLSs) were used. These PCLSs were prepared from male C57BL/6J mice and cultured in varying concentrations of fructose, insulin, palmitic acid and oleic acid, to mimic metabolic syndrome. Dose-dependent triglyceride accumulation was measured after 24 and 48 h of incubation with the different medium compositions. PCLSs viability, as indicated by ATP content, was not affected by medium composition or the butyrate concentration used. Under induced steatotic conditions, butyrate did not prevent triglyceride accumulation. Moreover, it lowered the expression of genes encoding for fatty acid oxidation and only increased C4 related carnitines, which indicate butyrate oxidation. Nevertheless, butyrate lowered the fibrotic response of PCLSs, as shown by reduced gene expression of fibronectin, alpha-smooth muscle actin and osteopontin, and protein levels of type I collagen. These results suggest that in the liver, butyrate alone does not increase lipid β-oxidation directly but might aid in the prevention of MAFLD progression to NASH and cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4203
Number of pages14
JournalNutrients
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24-Nov-2021

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