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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 642920, 11 pages
Research Article

Garlic-Derived S-Allylmercaptocysteine Ameliorates Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in a Rat Model through Inhibition of Apoptosis and Enhancing Autophagy

1Center for Gene and Cell Engineering, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518055, China
2Department of Anatomy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
3Department of Physiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Received 18 December 2012; Revised 11 March 2013; Accepted 12 March 2013

Academic Editor: Yueh-Sheng Chen

Copyright © 2013 Jia Xiao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Our previous study demonstrated that administration of garlic-derived antioxidant S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC) ameliorated hepatic injury in a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) rat model. Our present study aimed to investigate the mechanism of SAMC on NAFLD-induced hepatic apoptosis and autophagy. Adult female rats were fed with a high-fat diet for 8 weeks to develop NAFLD with or without intraperitoneal injection of 200 mg/kg SAMC for three times per week. During NAFLD development, increased apoptotic cells and caspase-3 activation were observed in the liver. Increased apoptosis was modulated through both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. NAFLD treatment also enhanced the expression of key autophagic markers in the liver with reduced activity of LKB1/AMPK and PI3K/Akt pathways. Increased expression of proapoptotic regulator p53 and decreased activity of antiautophagic regulator mTOR were also observed. Administration of SAMC reduced the number of apoptotic cells through downregulation of both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic mechanisms. SAMC also counteracted the effects of NAFLD on LKB1/AMPK and PI3K/Akt pathways. Treatment with SAMC further enhanced hepatic autophagy by regulating autophagic markers and mTOR activity. In conclusion, administration of SAMC during NAFLD development in rats protects the liver from chronic injury by reducing apoptosis and enhancing autophagy.