Accumulating evidence indicates that mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress play a pivotal role in the initiation and progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this study, we found that blueberry-derived exosomes-like nanoparticles (BELNs) could ameliorate oxidative stress in rotenone-induced HepG2 cells and high-fat diet (HFD)-fed C57BL/6 mice. Preincubation with BELNs decreased the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), increased the mitochondrial membrane potential, and prevented cell apoptosis by inducing the expression of Bcl-2 and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and decreasing the content of Bax in rotenone-treated HepG2 cells. We also found that preincubation with BELNs accelerated the translocation of Nrf2, an important transcription factor of antioxidative proteins, from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in rotenone-treated HepG2 cells. Moreover, administration of BELNs improved insulin resistance, ameliorated the dysfunction of hepatocytes, and regulated the expression of detoxifying/antioxidant genes by affecting the distribution of Nrf2 in the cytoplasm and nucleus of hepatocytes of HFD-fed mice. Furthermore, BELNs supplementation prevented the formation of vacuoles and attenuated the accumulation of lipid droplets by inhibiting the expression of fatty acid synthase (FAS) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1), the two key transcription factors for de novo lipogenesis in the liver of HFD-fed mice. These findings suggested that BELNs can be used for the treatment of NAFLD because of their antioxidative activity.
Keywords: blueberry-derived exosomes-like nanoparticles (BELNs); de novo lipogenesis; mitochondria; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); oxidative stress.