Constituents found in soil, in fruits such as kiwi and, fascinatingly, in breast milk may have protective qualities against inflammation of the liver and the future development and progression of NAFLD, according to a new study.
The paper, “Early PQQ Supplementation Has Persistent Long-Term Protective Effects on Developmental Programming of Hepatic Lipotoxicity and Inflammation in Obese Mice,” was published in the December 2016 issue of the FAEBS Journal, outlined how the effect occurred when studying pregnant lab animals and could offer a new avenue for fighting NAFLD.
According to the University of Colorado research team that conducted the study, enzymes are the key to the phenomenon that could have medical applications in the near future.
Studying Mice for Clues
Per the parameters of the study, obese pregnant and lactating mice were fed pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ, an antioxidant found in kiwi fruit and other sources. Their offspring were later found to have a reduced instance of certain key markers NAFLD as measured quantifiably.
In preparation for the method and the collection of its results, pregnant, obese mice were fed a “Western-like” diet that resulted in a higher chance of NAFLD by early adulthood. PPQ was then fed to the animals via their drinking water.
“The goal of our study, which we carried out using a mouse model of obese pregnancy, was to determine whether a novel antioxidant given to mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding could prevent the development of NAFLD in the offspring,” stated Karen Jonscher, PhD, lead author of the study.
Results Offer Future Possibilities
When data was collected, the researchers found that several indices in NAFLD, including hepatic ceramide levels, oxidative stress and expression of three proinflammatory genes, were lower in the PPQ-fed mice.
This means it may actually be possible to lower the possibility of future NAFLD via prenantal supplementation, though no suggestions on this exact method or dosage in any animal, including humans, has yet been determined.
If applicable to human beings, this could be a new avenue for fighting the possibility of NAFLD and for future treatment in various ways.
“We know that infants born to mothers with obesity have a greater chance of developing NAFLD over their lifetime,” Dr. Jonscher commented. “…in fact, one-third of obese children under 18 may have undiagnosed fatty liver disease that, when discovered, is more likely to be advanced at the time of diagnosis.”
Protected infant mice showed resistance to this typical progression via the decreased levels of key NAFLD factors.
Read the abstract of the study here.