Aim: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a globally recognized liver disease. A methionineand choline-deficient diet is used to induce NASH in mice; however, this diet also causes severe body weight loss. To resolve this issue, we examined the effects of methionine content in a high-fat and choline-deficient (HFCD) diet on body weight and the development of NASH in mice. Methods: C57BL/6J mice (male, 10 weeks of age) were fed an L-amino acid rodent (control) diet, high-fat (HF) diet, or HFCD diet containing various amounts of methionine (0.1-0.6% (w/w)) for 12 weeks. Plasma lipid levels, hepatic lipid content and inflammatory marker gene expression were measured, and a pathological analysis was conducted to evaluate NASH. Results: The 0.1% methionine in HFCD diet suppressed body weight gain, which was lower than that with control diet. On the other hand, the 0.2% methionine in HFCD diet yielded similar body weight gains as the control diet, while more than 0.4% methionine showed the same body weight gains as the HF diet. Liver weights and hepatic lipid contents were the greatest with 0.1% methionine and decreased in a methionine dose-dependent manner. Pathological analysis, NAFLD activity scores and gene expression levels in the liver revealed that 0.1% and 0.2% methionine for 12 weeks induced NASH, whereas 0.4% and 0.6% methionine attenuated the induction of NASH by HFCD diet. However, the 0.2% methionine in HFCD diet did not induce insulin resistance, despite the body weight gain. Conclusions: The 0.2% methionine in HFCD diet for 12 weeks was able to induce NASH without weight loss.
Chiba, T., Suzuki, S., Sato, Y., Itoh, T., & Umegaki, K. (2016). Evaluation of methionine content in a high-fat and choline-deficient diet on body weight gain and the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in mice. PLoS ONE, 11(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164191