Hepatoprotective Effect of Kombucha Tea in Rodent Model of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 May 13;20(9):2369. doi: 10.3390/ijms20092369.


Kombucha tea (KT) has emerged as a substance that protects the liver from damage; however, its mechanisms of action on the fatty liver remain unclear. Therefore, we investigated the potential role of KT and its underlying mechanisms on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). db/db mice that were fed methionine/choline-deficient (MCD) diets for seven weeks were treated for vehicle (M + V) or KT (M + K) and fed with MCD for four additional weeks. Histomorphological injury and increased levels of liver enzymes and lipids were evident in the M + V group, whereas these symptoms were ameliorated in the M + K group. The M + K group had more proliferating and less apoptotic hepatocytic cells than the M + V group. Lipid uptake and lipogenesis significantly decreased, and free fatty acid (FFA) oxidation increased in the M + K, when compared with the M + V group. With the reduction of hedgehog signaling, inflammation and fibrosis also declined in the M + K group. Palmitate (PA) treatment increased the accumulation of lipid droplets and decreased the viability of primary hepatocytes, whereas KT suppressed PA-induced damage in these cells by enhancing intracellular lipid disposal. These results suggest that KT protects hepatocytes from lipid toxicity by influencing the lipid metabolism, and it attenuates inflammation and fibrosis, which contributes to liver restoration in mice with NAFLD.

Keywords: Kombucha tea; hedgehog; lipotoxicity; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kombucha Tea*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism*
  • Palmitates / pharmacology*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Palmitates