Table of Contents
ISRN Oxidative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 659029, 7 pages
Research Article

Heme Consumption Reduces Hepatic Triglyceride and Fatty Acid Accumulation in a Rat Model of NAFLD Fed Westernized Diet

1Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 28 Medical Drive, Singapore 117456
2Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, 3400 Civic Center Boulevard Building 421, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
3School of Biological Sciences, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Building 32, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

Received 28 October 2013; Accepted 15 December 2013; Published 9 January 2014

Academic Editors: C. J. Lieven, A. B. Salmon, A. Shukla, and E. L. Streck

Copyright © 2014 Soon Yew Tang 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.


Studies have identified that serum-free hemoglobin subunits correlate positively with the severity of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the role of hemoglobin in the development of NAFLD remains unclear. In the present study, a rat model of NAFLD was developed, using a westernized diet high in saturated fat and refined sugar. Since a “westernized” diet is also high in red meat, we tested the effect of hemoglobin as a dietary source of heme in our model. Sprague-Dawley rats were fed ad libitum for 4 weeks either control diet (7% fat), westernized diet (WD, 18% fat + 1% cholesterol), hemoglobin diet (7% fat + 2.5% Hb), or westernized and hemoglobin diet (18% fat + 1% cholesterol + 2.5% Hb). Rats fed WD developed features of NAFLD, including insulin resistance and accumulation of liver fatty acids in the form of triglycerides, increased lipid peroxidation (F2-Isoprostanes), and liver fibrotic marker (hydroxyproline). Hemoglobin consumption significantly influenced several biomarkers of NAFLD and hepatic biochemistry, suggesting a possible interaction with diet and/or liver lipid pathways. The complex mechanisms of interaction between WD and hemoglobin in our rat model warrants further studies to examine the role of dietary heme on NAFLD.