Background & aims: Lipid peroxidation may be important in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver injury. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a saturated fatty acid-based therapy (palm oil) could decrease lipid peroxidation and alcoholic liver injury during ethanol withdrawal.
Methods: Three groups of male Wistar rats (5 rats/group) were studied. Rats in group 1 were fed a fish oil-ethanol diet for 6 weeks; rats in groups 2 and 3 were fed a fish oil-ethanol diet for 6 weeks before treatment with fish oil-dextrose (group 2) or palm oil-dextrose (group 3) for 2 weeks. Liver samples were analyzed for histopathology, lipid peroxidation, fatty acid composition, cytochrome P450 2E1 activity, and tocopherol levels.
Results: By 6 weeks, all rats had developed fatty liver, inflammation, and necrosis. Group 2 showed minimal histological improvement, whereas group 3 showed near normalization of the histology. The improvement in group 3 was associated with decreased lipid peroxidation and P450 2E1 activity. Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids were detected in group 2 than group 3. Tocopherol levels were similar among the groups.
Conclusions: A diet enriched in saturated but not unsaturated fatty acids reversed alcoholic liver injury. This effect may be explained by down-regulation of lipid peroxidation.