Volume 42 (2017) Issue 6 Pages 671-681
Mice lacking farnesoid X receptor (FXR) are used as a model for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease because their livers exhibit hepatomegaly, hepatic steatosis, and hepatic inflammation. The influence of fish oil feeding on hepatomegaly and disrupted hepatic function was investigated using female Fxr-null mice and wild-type mice fed a fish oil diet (2% fish oil and 2% corn oil) or a control diet (4% corn oil) for 4 weeks. Hepatic n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels, including 22:6 n-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 20:5 n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) were significantly higher in the fish oil group than those in the control group of Fxr-null mice and wild-type mice. Fxr-null mouse livers of the control group showed a whitish brown coloration, whereas Fxr-null mouse livers of the fish oil group showed a dark brown coloration similar to that of wild-type mice. The liver in Fxr-null mice of the fish oil group was smaller than that of the control group. There was a significant decrease in the levels of hepatic damage-associated diagnostic markers, hepatic and serum bile acids, triglycerides, free fatty acids, and total cholesterol levels in Fxr-null mice because of fish oil feeding. It also reversed elevated mRNA levels of oxidative stress-related genes (Hmox1, Gsta1, and Gsta2) and reduced mRNA levels of transcriptional factors (Pparα and Shp) in Fxr-null mice. These results suggest that fish oil feeding reverses hepatomegaly and disrupted hepatic function due to the lack of FXR signaling.