We aimed to elucidate the effects of caloric and non-caloric sweeteners on liver lipid metabolism in rats using in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and to determine their roles in the development of liver steatosis. Wistar rats received normal chow and either normal drinking water, or solutions containing 13% (w/v) glucose, 13% fructose, or 0.4% aspartame. After 7 weeks, in vivo hepatic dietary lipid uptake and de novo lipogenesis were assessed with proton-observed, carbon-13-edited MRS combined with13C-labeled lipids and13C-labeled glucose, respectively. The molecular basis of alterations in hepatic liver metabolism was analyzed in detail ex vivo using immunoblotting and targeted quantitative proteomics. Both glucose and fructose feeding increased adiposity, but only fructose induced hepatic lipid accumulation. In vivo MRS showed that this was not caused by increased hepatic uptake of dietary lipids, but could be attributed to an increase in de novo lipogenesis. Stimulation of lipogenesis by fructose was confirmed by a strong upregulation of lipogenic enzymes, which was more potent than with glucose. The non-caloric sweetener aspartame did not significantly affect liver lipid content or metabolism. In conclusion, liquid fructose more severely affected liver lipid metabolism in rats than glucose, while aspartame had no effect.
- Fatty liver disease
- Hepatic steatosis