A dietary ketone ester mitigates histological outcomes of NAFLD and markers of fibrosis in high-fat diet fed mice

Academic Article


  • Nutritional ketosis as a therapeutic tool has been extended to the treatment of metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The purpose of this study was to determine whether dietary administration of the ketone ester (KE) R,S-1,3-butanediol diacetoacetate (BD-AcAc2) attenuates markers of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and hepatic fibrosis in the context of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity. Six-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were placed on a 10-wk ad libitum HFD (45% fat, 32% carbohydrates, 23% proteins). Mice were then randomized to one of three groups (n = 10 per group) for an additional 12 wk: 1) control (CON), continuous HFD; 2) pair-fed (PF) to KE, and 3) KE (HFD รพ 30% energy from BD-AcAc2, KE). KE feeding significantly reduced histological steatosis, inflammation, and total NAFLD activity score versus CON, beyond improvements observed for calorie restriction alone (PF). Dietary KE supplementation also reduced the protein content and gene expression of profibrotic markers (a-SMA, COL1A1, PDGF-b, MMP9) versus CON (P < 0.05), beyond reductions observed for PF versus CON. Furthermore, KE feeding increased hepatic markers of anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages (CD163) and also reduced proinflammatory markers [tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and cellular communication network factor 1 (CCN1)] versus CON and PF (P 0.05), in the absence of changes in markers of total hepatic macrophage content (F4/80 and CD68; P > 0.05). These data highlight that the dietary ketone ester BD-AcAc2 ameliorates histological NAFLD and inflammation and reduces profibrotic and proinflammatory markers. Future studies to further explore potential mechanisms are warranted. NEW & NOTEWORTHY To our knowledge, this is the first study focusing on hepatic outcomes in response to dietary ketone ester feeding in male mice with HFD-induced NAFLD. Novel findings include that dietary ketone ester feeding ameliorates NAFLD outcomes via reductions in histological steatosis and inflammation. These improvements were beyond those observed for caloric restriction alone. Furthermore, dietary ketone ester feeding was associated with greater reductions in markers of hepatic fibrogenesis and inflammation compared with control and calorie-restricted mice.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Moore MP; Cunningham RP; Davis RAH; Deemer SE; Roberts BM; Plaisance EP; Scott Rector R
  • Start Page

  • G564
  • End Page

  • G572
  • Volume

  • 320
  • Issue

  • 4