It has been suggested that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (vitamin D) plays a protective role against inflammation and insulin resistance (IR) in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The present study investigate the hypothesis that vitamin D may exert beneficial effects on the liver in a rat model of T2DM by regulating the expression of inflammation-related cytokines and ameliorating IR induced by inflammation. Normal control group rats were fed a basic diet (NC). Experimental rats received a high-fat diet for 8 weeks and were then injected with streptozotocin (STZ) to induce T2DM. Half of the T2DM model rats received vitamin D (0.03 µg/kg/day) for 8 weeks (vitamin D-treated group; VD; n=11), while the other (T2DM group; DM; n=10) and NC group received an equivalent quantity of peanut oil. Following sacrifice, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and fasting insulin (FINS) were recorded and homeostasis model assessment of IR (HOMA-IR) was calculated. Liver histopathology was examined using hematoxylin and eosin staining. The levels of the inflammatory cytokines C-Jun N-terminal kinase, C-Jun, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β were measured using immunohistology, quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analyses. The results revealed that treatment with vitamin D markedly alleviated the pathological alterations of liver and reduced the expression of inflammatory cytokines at the protein and mRNA levels. Furthermore, decreased levels of FPG, HOMA-IR and increased FINS were detected. In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate that vitamin D has therapeutic effects on diabetes-induced liver complications in T2DM model rats, which may involve the modulation of the inflammatory response, attenuating the crosstalk' between inflammation and IR and ameliorating hyperglycemic state.
Keywords: inflammation; insulin resistance; liver; type 2 diabetes mellitus; vitamin D.