High Dietary Fructose: Direct or Indirect Dangerous Factors Disturbing Tissue and Organ Functions

Nutrients. 2017 Mar 29;9(4):335. doi: 10.3390/nu9040335.


High dietary fructose is a major contributor to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, disturbing tissue and organ functions. Fructose is mainly absorbed into systemic circulation by glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) and GLUT5, and metabolized in liver to produce glucose, lactate, triglyceride (TG), free fatty acid (FFA), uric acid (UA) and methylglyoxal (MG). Its extrahepatic absorption and metabolism also take place. High levels of these metabolites are the direct dangerous factors. During fructose metabolism, ATP depletion occurs and induces oxidative stress and inflammatory response, disturbing functions of local tissues and organs to overproduce inflammatory cytokine, adiponectin, leptin and endotoxin, which act as indirect dangerous factors. Fructose and its metabolites directly and/or indirectly cause oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, autophagy and increased intestinal permeability, and then further aggravate the metabolic syndrome with tissue and organ dysfunctions. Therefore, this review addresses fructose-induced metabolic syndrome, and the disturbance effects of direct and/or indirect dangerous factors on the functions of liver, adipose, pancreas islet, skeletal muscle, kidney, heart, brain and small intestine. It is important to find the potential correlations between direct and/or indirect risk factors and healthy problems under excess dietary fructose consumption.

Keywords: high dietary fructose; inflammation; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; metabolites; oxidative stress; tissue and organ dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Diet*
  • Endotoxins / blood
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Fructose / adverse effects*
  • Fructose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress*


  • Adipokines
  • Cytokines
  • Endotoxins
  • Fructose