5-Aminolevulinic acid with ferrous iron improves early renal damage and hepatic steatosis in high fat diet-induced obese mice

J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2019 Jan;64(1):59-65. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.18-35. Epub 2018 Oct 2.


5-Aminolevulinic acid, a natural amino acid, activates mitochondrial respiration and induces heme oxygenase-1 expression. Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus are associated with age-related mitochondrial respiration defect, oxidative stress and inflammation. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of 5-aminolevulinic acid with sodium ferrous citrate on early renal damage and hepatic steatosis. 7-Month-old C57BL/6 mice were fed with a standard diet or high fat diet for 9 weeks, which were orally administered 300 mg/kg 5-aminolevulinic acid combined with 47 mg/kg sodium ferrous citrate (5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate) or vehicle for the last 5 weeks. We observed that 5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate significantly decreased body weight, fat weight, hepatic lipid deposits and improved levels of blood glucose and oral glucose tolerance test. In addition, 5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate suppressed increased glomerular tuft area in high fat diet-fed mice, which was associated with increased heme oxygenase-1 protein expression. Our findings demonstrate additional evidence that 5-aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate could improve glucose and lipid metabolism in diabetic mice. 5-Aminolevulinic acid/sodium ferrous citrate has potential application in obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus-associated disease such as diabetic nephropathy and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Keywords: 5-aminolevulinic acid; diabetic nephropathy; heme oxygenase-1; hepatic steatosis; high fat diet.