A dietary restriction influences the progression but not the initiation of MSG-induced nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Makoto Fujimoto, Koichi Tsuneyama, Yuko Nakanishi, Thucydides L. Salunga, Kazuhiro Nomoto, Yoshiyuki Sasaki, Seiichi Iizuka, Mitsunobu Nagata, Wataru Suzuki, Tsutomu Shimada, Masaki Aburada, Yutaka Shimada, M. Eric Gershwin, Carlo Selmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The metabolic syndrome is a major worldwide health care issue and a dominant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The liver manifestations of this syndrome include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its progressive variant nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although significant research has been performed, the basic pathogenesis of NAFLD/NASH remains controversial and effective treatments are still unavailable. We have previously reported on a murine model of NASH induced by the neonatal injection of monosodium glutamate (MSG), which includes the clinical manifestations of central obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and ultimately liver inflammation, fibrosis, and cancer. Although MSG is considered a safe food additive, its administration to pregnant rats increases the voracity and growth hormone levels in the offspring. To further understand the biology of this model, we have investigated the influence of the calorie intake on these clinical manifestations by feeding animals a restrictive diet. MSG-treated animals fed a restrictive diet continue to manifest obesity and early stage NASH but have improvements in serum lipid profiles. At 12 months of age, mice had manifestations of obesity, whether animals were fed a restricted or control diet, but animals fed a restrictive diet had a reduction in the progression of NASH. In conclusion, MSG appears to be a critical factor in the initiation of obesity, whereas calorie intake may modulate the progression of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-383
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medicinal Food
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2014


  • diabetes
  • functional foods
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • metabolic syndrome
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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