Impact of artificial sunlight therapy on the progress of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats

J Hepatol. 2011 Aug;55(2):415-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2010.11.028. Epub 2010 Dec 22.


Background & aims: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is recognized as the most severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, with likely progression to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, there is no unified standard for diagnosis and therapeutics. This study aimed to characterize lipid transfer/metabolic proteins as non-invasive diagnostic markers, and to evaluate the therapeutic effects of phototherapy on the progression of NASH in rats.

Methods: Lewis rats given a choline-deficient and iron-supplemented l-amino acid-defined (CDAA) diet and Zucker fa/fa rats were used as a diet-induced and an obesity-related NASH models, respectively, with or without phototherapy.

Results: Serum apolipoprotein E and low molecular weight-adiponectin levels were gradually reduced and reached the lowest level at fatty liver/NASH stage both in CDAA diet-induced NASH model and in genetically obese model. Total-adiponectin levels were dramatically elevated after NASH was established in CDAA diet-induced NASH model. Phototherapy ameliorated hepatocyte apoptosis, inflammation, fibrosis, and insulin/leptin resistance caused by CDAA diet with alteration of the levels of lipid transfer/metabolic proteins and elevation of the circulating active form of vitamin D(3). Vitamin D(3) supplementation ameliorated NASH progression in CDAA diet-induced NASH model. However, phototherapy failed to ameliorate the obesity and steatosis, suggesting that phototherapy may possess anti-inflammatory/fibrotic activity rather than anti-obesity/steatotic activity.

Conclusions: These results suggest that serum lipid transfer/metabolic proteins and vitamin D(3) status may be effective biomarkers for non-invasive diagnosis of NASH progression, and that phototherapy may be a good complementary therapy for NASH because of its regulation of lipid transfer/metabolic proteins and vitamin D(3).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Apolipoproteins E / blood
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Apoproteins
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cholecalciferol / administration & dosage
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / therapy*
  • Gene Expression
  • Heliotherapy*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Rats, Zucker
  • Receptors, Adiponectin / metabolism


  • Adiponectin
  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Apoproteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Adiponectin
  • lipid transfer protein
  • Cholecalciferol