Starvation impairs antioxidant defense in fatty livers of rats fed a choline-deficient diet

Ignazio Grattagliano, Gianluigi Vendemiale, Paolo Caraceni, Marco Domenicali, Bruno Nardo, Antonino Cavallari, Franco Trevisani, Mauro Bernardi, Emanuele Altomare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although fatty liver (FL) is considered an innocuous condition, the frequent incidence of graft failure when FL are transplanted has renewed interest in the intracellular disorders causative of or consequent to fatty degeneration. Oxidative stress and nutritional status modulate the tolerance to reperfusion injury in control livers (CL), but very little is known in the case of FL. This study was designed to compare the oxidative balance in CL and FL from fed and food-deprived rats. Serum and liver samples were collected from fed and starved (18 h) rats with CL or FL induced by a choline-deficient diet. Hepatic injury was assessed by transaminase activities and histology. The hepatic concentrations of glutathione (GSH), vitamin C, α-tocopherol, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and protein carbonyls (PC) were measured. Fed rats with FL had significantly greater TBARS and lower α-tocopherol and vitamin C levels than those with CL, whereas GSH and PC concentrations were not affected. Starvation impaired the oxidative balance in both groups. However, compared with the other groups, FL from food-deprived rats generally had the lowest hepatic concentrations of α-tocopherol, vitamin C and GSH. Unlike in CL, protein oxidation occurred in FL. These data indicate that fatty liver induced by consumption of a choline-deficient diet is associated with a lower level of antioxidants, which results in lipid peroxidation. Starvation further affects these alterations and extends the damage to proteins. In conclusion, steatosis and starvation may act synergistically on the depletion of antioxidants, predisposing fatty livers to a reduced tolerance to oxidative injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2131-2136
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Antioxidants
  • Carbonyl proteins
  • Choline-deficient diet
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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