Bergamot Polyphenols Boost Therapeutic Effects of the Diet on Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Induced by"Junk Food": Evidence for Anti-Inflammatory Activity.
Nutrients. 2018 Nov 1 ;10(11). Epub 2018 Nov 1. PMID: 30388763
Wrong alimentary behaviors and so-called"junk food"are a driving force for the rising incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among children and adults. The"junk food"toxicity can be studied in"cafeteria"(CAF) diet animal model. Young rats exposed to CAF diet become obese and rapidly develop NAFLD. We have previously showed that bergamot () flavonoids, in the form of bergamot polyphenol fraction (BPF), effectively prevent CAF diet-induced NAFLD in rats. Here, we addressed if BPF can accelerate therapeutic effects of weight loss induced by a normocaloric standard chow (SC) diet. 21 rats fed with CAF diet for 16 weeks to induce NAFLD with inflammatory features (NASH) were divided into three groups. Two groups were switched to SC diet supplemented or not with BPF (CAF/SC±BPF), while one group continued with CAF diet (CAF/CAF) for 10 weeks. BPF had no effect on SC diet-induced weight loss, but it accelerated hepatic lipid droplets clearance and reduced blood triglycerides. Accordingly, BPF improved insulin sensitivity, but had little effect on leptin levels. Interestingly, the inflammatory parameters were still elevated in CAF/SC livers compared to CAF/CAF group after 10 weeks of dietary intervention, despite over 90% hepatic fat reduction. In contrast, BPF supplementation decreased hepatic inflammation by reducing interleukin 6 () mRNA expression and increasing anti-inflammatory, which correlated with fewer Kupffer cells and lower inflammatory foci score in CAF/SC+BPF livers compared to CAF/SC group. These data indicate that BPF mediates a specific anti-inflammatory activity in livers recovering from NASH, while it boosts lipid-lowering and anti-diabetic effects of the dietary intervention.