Scientists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have discovered that a diet with high levels of fructose, sucrose, and of trans fats not only increases obesity, but also leads to significant fatty liver disease with scar tissue.
Moreover, the researchers conducted the study in a new mouse model of obesity and liver disease that so closely models human disease they will now be able to test therapies to determine their effectiveness, according to Rohit Kohli, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the study's main author.
"Fructose consumption accounts for approximately 10.2 percent of calories in the average diet in the United States and has been linked to many health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease and liver disease," says Dr. Kohli. "We've developed a mouse model that is very close to human disease, allowing us to better understand the process involved in the development and progression of obesity-related fatty liver disease."
The study also includes preliminary data on a simple blood test for a biomarker that differentiates the stages of disease in this model. Physicians currently monitor the progression of fatty liver disease by taking liver biopsies, which are invasive procedures.
The study, which was conducted with scientists from the Metabolic Disease Institute at the University of Cincinnati, is published online in the journal Hepatology.
The study was conducted in mice, some of which were fed a normal diet of rodent chow and some a 16-week diet of fructose and sucrose-enriched drinking water and trans-fat solids. Their liver tissue was then analyzed for fat content, scar tissue formation (fibrosis), and the biological mechanism of damage. This was done by measuring reactive oxygen stress, inflammatory cell type and plasma levels of oxidative stress markers, which are known to play important roles in the development of obesity-r
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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center