Dietary arginine (Arg) supplementation has been proposed to have positive effects on the development of liver diseases. In the present study, we investigate if an oral Arg supplementation in diet protects mice fed a fructose, fat and cholesterol enriched Western-style diet (WSD) from the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Female C57BL/6J mice were fed a liquid control diet or a liquid WSD ± Arg (2.49 g/kg body weight/day) for 6 weeks. Indices of liver injury, glucose metabolism and intestinal permeability were determined. While Arg supplementation had no effects on body weight gain, fasting blood glucose levels were significantly lower in WSD+Arg-fed mice than in C+Arg-fed animals. WSD-fed mice developed liver steatosis accompanied with inflammation, both being significantly attenuated in WSD+Arg-fed mice. These effects of Arg supplementation went along with a protection against WSD-induced decreased tight junction protein levels in the upper parts of the small intestine, increased levels of bacterial endotoxin in portal plasma as well as increased hepatic toll-like receptor-4 mRNA and 4-hydroxynonenal protein adduct levels. In conclusion, Arg supplementation may protect mice from the development of NASH.
Keywords: Arginine; Hepatic inflammation; Intestinal barrier function; Lipogenesis; Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.