Resveratrol inhibits nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in rats

BMC Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep 9:8:40. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-8-40.


Background: The prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is high. NAFLD is linked to obesity, diabetes mellitus, and hypertriglyceridemia. Approximately 20% of patients with NAFLD will eventually develop cirrhosis. Our purpose was to investigate whether resveratrol decreased hepatic steatosis in an animal model of steatosis, and whether this therapeutic approach resulted in a decrease in tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) production, lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress.

Methods: Male Wistar CRL: Wi (Han) (225 g) rats were randomized into three groups. A control group (n = 12) was given free access to regular dry rat chow for 4 weeks. The steatosis (n = 12) and resveratrol (n = 12) groups were given free access to feed (a high carbohydrate-fat free modified diet) and water 4 days per week, and fasted for the remaining 3 days for 4 weeks. Rats in the resveratrol group were given resveratrol 10 mg daily by the oral route. All rats were killed at 4 weeks and assessed for fatty infiltration and bacterial translocation. Levels of TNF-alpha in serum, hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA), oxidative stress (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase and nitric oxide synthase) and biochemical parameters were measured.

Results: Fat deposition was decreased in the resveratrol group as compared to the steatosis group (Grade 1 vs Grade 3, P < 0.05). TNF-alpha and MDA levels were significantly increased in the steatosis group (TNF-alpha; 33.4 +/- 5.2 vs 26.24 +/- 3.47 pg/ml and MDA; 9.08 +/- 0.8 vs 3.17 +/- 1.45 muM respectively, P < 0.05). This was accompanied by increased superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase and decreased nitric oxide synthase in the liver of resveratrol group significantly (P < 0.05 vs steatosis group). Bacterial translocation was not found in any of the groups. Glucose levels were decreased in the group of rats given resveratrol (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Resveratrol decreased NAFLD severity in rats. This effect was mediated, at least in part, by TNF-alpha inhibition and antioxidant activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Resveratrol
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Stilbenes
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glucose
  • Resveratrol