Differential capability of metabolic substrates to promote hepatocellular lipid accumulation.

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    • Abstract:
      Purpose: Excessive storage of triacylglycerides (TAGs) in lipid droplets within hepatocytes is a hallmark of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), one of the most widespread metabolic disorders in Western societies. For the purpose of exploring molecular pathways in NAFLD development and testing potential drug candidates, well-characterised experimental models of ectopic TAG storage in hepatocytes are needed. Methods: Using an optimised Oil Red O assay, immunoblotting and real-time qRT-PCR, we compared the capability of dietary monosaccharides and fatty acids to promote lipid accumulation in HepG2 human hepatoma cells. Results: Both high glucose and high fructose resulted in intracellular lipid accumulation after 48 h, and this was further augmented (up to twofold, as compared to basal levels) by co-treatment with the lipogenesis-stimulating hormone insulin and the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), respectively. The fatty acids palmitic and oleic acid were even more effective than these carbohydrates, inducing significantly elevated TAG storage already after 24 h of treatment. Highest (about threefold) increases in lipid accumulation were observed upon treatment with oleic acid, alone as well as in combinations with palmitic acid or with high glucose and insulin. Increases in protein levels of a major lipid droplet coat protein, perilipin-2 (PLIN2), mirrored intracellular lipid accumulation following different treatment regimens. Conclusions: Several treatment regimens of excessive fat and sugar supply promoted lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells, albeit with differences in the extent and rapidity of steatogenesis. PLIN2 is a candidate molecular marker of sustained lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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