Protective effect of whey proteins against nonalcoholic fatty liver in rats

Lipids Health Dis. 2011 Apr 13;10:57. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-10-57.


Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome and can vary from hepatic steatosis to end-stage liver disease. It is the most common liver disease and its prevalence is increasing worldwide. In the present study, the effect of whey proteins on some parameters of NAFLD was investigated.

Results: Oral administration of the studied whey proteins products reduced the final body weight of rats. There was a significant reduction effect (P<0.05) of the tested proteins on hepatic triglycerides, liver enzymes (ALT and AST), lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde level) and serum glucose. Feeding on whey proteins caused an increase in the reduced glutathione. Hepatic content of reduced glutathione was not affected by any of the used whey proteins, but it showed an increasing tendency (P>0.05). Liver histology showed an improvement of fatty infiltration in hepatocytes from whey protein groups and gives the histology of liver a normal appearance.

Conclusions: The obtained results indicate a possible role for oral administration of whey proteins in the regulation of liver biochemistries in a rat's model of NAFLD. This regulatory effect of whey proteins was accompanied by an improvement in fatty infiltration in hepatocytes and a reduction of oxidative stress parameters.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Blood Glucose
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / adverse effects
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Whey Proteins


  • Blood Glucose
  • Milk Proteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Whey Proteins
  • Cholesterol
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase