Volume 43 (2018) Issue 6 Pages 395-405
Valproic acid (VPA) is known to induce hepatic steatosis due to mitochondrial toxicity in rodents and humans. In the present study, we administered VPA to SD rats for 3 or 14 days at 250 and 500 mg/kg and then performed lipidomics analysis to reveal VPA-induced alteration of the hepatic lipid profile and its association with the plasma lipid profile. VPA induced hepatic steatosis at the high dose level without any degenerative changes in the liver on day 4 (after 3 days dosing) and at the low dose level on day 15 (after 14 days dosing). We compared the plasma and hepatic lipid profiles obtained on day 4 between the VPA-treated and control rats using a multivariate analysis to determine differences between the two groups. In total, 36 species of plasma lipids and 24 species of hepatic lipids were identified as altered in the VPA-treated group. Of these lipid species, ether-phosphatidylcholines (ePCs), including PC(16:0e/22:4) and PC(16:0e/22:6), were decreased in both the plasma and liver from the low dose level on day 4, however, neither an increase in hepatic TG level nor histopathological hepatic steatosis was observed at either dose level on day 4. Hepatic mRNA levels of glycerone-phosphate O-acyltransferase (Gnpat), which is a key enzyme for biosynthesis of ePC, was also decreased by treatment with VPA along with the decrease in ePCs. In conclusion, the changes in ePCs, (PC[16:0e/22:4] and PC[16:0e/22:6]), have potential utility as predictive biomarkers for VPA-induced hepatic steatosis.