Fatty acids in a high-fat diet potentially induce gastric parietal-cell damage and metaplasia in mice

J Gastroenterol. 2017 Aug;52(8):889-903. doi: 10.1007/s00535-016-1291-0. Epub 2016 Nov 21.


Background: Obesity is associated with risk of adenocarcinoma in the proximal stomach. We aimed to identify the links between dietary fat and gastric premalignant lesions.

Methods: C57BL/6 mice were fed high fat diet (HFD), and gastric mucosa was histologically analysed. Morphological changes were also analysed using an electron microscope. Transcriptome analysis of purified parietal cells was performed, and non-parietal gastric corpus epithelial cells were subjected to single-cell gene-expression profiling. Composition of gastric contents of HFD-fed mice was compared with that of the HFD itself. Lipotoxicity of free fatty acids (FFA) was examined in primary culture and organoid culture of mouse gastric epithelial cells in vitro, as well as in vivo, feeding FFA-rich diets.

Results: During ~8-20 weeks of HFD feeding, the parietal cells of the stomach displayed mitochondrial damage, and a total of 23% of the mice developed macroscopically distinct metaplastic lesions in the gastric corpus mucosa. Transcriptome analysis of parietal cells indicated that feeding HFD enhanced pathways related to cell death. Histological analysis and gene-expression profiling indicated that the lesions were similar to previously reported precancerous lesions identified as spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia. FFAs, including linoleic acid with refluxed bile acids were detected in the stomachs of the HFD-fed mice. In vitro, FFAs impaired mitochondrial function and decreased the viability of parietal cells. In vivo, linoleic acid-rich diet, but not stearic acid-rich diet induced parietal-cell loss and metaplastic changes in mice.

Conclusions: Dietary lipids induce parietal-cell damage and may lead to the development of precancerous metaplasia.

Keywords: Fatty acid; Gastric adenocarcinoma; Obesity; Single cell analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Cell Death / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Gastric Juice / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Linoleic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Linoleic Acid / adverse effects
  • Linoleic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metaplasia / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / metabolism
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / pathology*
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / ultrastructure
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Stearic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Stearic Acids / adverse effects


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Stearic Acids
  • Linoleic Acid