Background: L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid was found principally in the green tea, has been previously shown to exhibit potent anti-obesity property and hepatoprotective effect. Herein, we investigated the effects of L-theanine on alleviating nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis in vitro and in vivo, and explored the underlying molecular mechanism.
Methods: In vitro, HepG2 and AML12 cells were treated with 500 μM oleic acid (OA) or treated with OA accompanied by L-theanine. In vivo, C57BL/6J mice were fed with normal control diet (NCD), high-fat diet (HFD), or HFD along with L-theanine for 16 weeks. The levels of triglycerides (TG), accumulation of lipid droplets and the expression of genes related to hepatocyte lipid metabolic pathways were detected in vitro and in vivo.
Results: Our data indicated that, in vivo, L-theanine significantly reduced body weight, hepatic steatosis, serum levels of alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), TG and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) in HFD-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) mice. In vitro, L-theanine also significantly alleviated OA induced hepatocytes steatosis. Mechanic studies showed that L-theanine significantly inhibited the nucleus translocation of sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) through AMPK-mTOR signaling pathway, thereby contributing to the reduction of fatty acid synthesis. We also identified that L-theanine enhanced fatty acid β-oxidation by increasing the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 A (CPT1A) through AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Furthermore, our study indicated that L-theanine can active AMPK through its upstream kinase Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase-β (CaMKKβ).
Conclusions: Taken together, our findings suggested that L-theanine alleviates nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis by regulating hepatocyte lipid metabolic pathways via the CaMKKβ-AMPK signaling pathway.
Keywords: CaMKKβ; Hepatic steatosis; L-theanine; Lipid accumulation; SREBP-1c.
© 2022. The Author(s).