Medium-chain triglycerides inhibit free radical formation and TNF-alpha production in rats given enteral ethanol

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2000 Mar;278(3):G467-76. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.2000.278.3.G467.


This study determined whether free radical formation by the liver, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production by isolated Kupffer cells, and plasma endotoxin are affected by dietary saturated fat. Rats were fed enteral ethanol and corn oil (E-CO) or medium-chain triglycerides (E-MCT) and control rats received corn oil (C-CO) or medium-chain triglycerides (C-MCT) for 2 wk. E-CO rats developed moderate fatty infiltration and slight inflammation; however, E-MCT prevented liver injury. Serum aspartate aminotransferase levels, gut permeability, and plasma endotoxin doubled with E-CO but were blunted approximately 50% with E-MCT. In Kupffer cells from E-CO rats, intracellular calcium was elevated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in a dose-dependent manner. In cells from E-MCT rats, increases were blunted by approximately 40-50% at all concentrations of LPS. The LPS-induced increase in TNF-alpha production by Kupffer cells was dose dependent and was blunted by 40% by MCT. E-CO increased radical adducts and was reduced approximately 50% by MCT. MCT prevent early alcohol-induced liver injury, in part, by inhibition of free radical formation and TNF-alpha production by inhibition of endotoxin-mediated activation of Kupffer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Corn Oil / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology
  • Endotoxins / blood
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Ethanol / urine
  • Free Radicals / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / physiology
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Kupffer Cells / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Permeability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Triglycerides / chemistry*
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Endotoxins
  • Free Radicals
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Triglycerides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Ethanol
  • Corn Oil
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases