The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of vitamin E analogs, especially gamma-tocotrienol (γ-T3), on hepatic TG accumulation and enzymes related to fatty acid metabolism in three types of rat primary hepatocytes: (1) normal hepatocytes, (2) hepatocytes incubated in the presence of palmitic acid (PA), and (3) hepatocytes with fat accumulation. Our results showed that γ-T3 significantly reduced the TG content of normal hepatocytes. γ-T3 also increased the expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1A) mRNA, and tended to reduce that of sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) mRNA. In addition, γ-T3 markedly suppressed the gene expression of both C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) and SREBP-1c induced by PA. As these two genes are located downstream of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, their suppression by γ-T3 might result from a decrease of ER stress. Moreover, γ-T3 suppressed the expression of interleukin 1β (IL-1β), which lies downstream of CHOP signaling. Taken together, our data suggest that γ-T3 might prevent hepatic steatosis and ameliorate ER stress and subsequent inflammation in the liver.
Keywords: CHOP; CPT1A; SREBP-1c; fatty liver; tocotrienol.