Front. Nutr.
Sec. Nutrition and Metabolism
doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.987103

Carotenoids in Orange Carrots Mitigate Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Progression

 Emilio Balbuena1, 2, Junrui Cheng2 and  Abdulkerim Eroglu1, 2*
  • 1Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, United States
  • 2Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University, United States
Provisionally accepted:
The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

(1) Background: Carotenoids are abundant in colored fruits and vegetables. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a global burden and risk factor for end-stage hepatic diseases. This study aims to compare the anti-NAFLD efficacy between carotenoid-rich and carotenoid-deficient vegetables. (2) Methods: Male C57BL/6J mice were randomized to one of four experimental diets for 15 weeks (n=12 animals/group): Low-fat diet (LFD, 10% calories from fat), high-fat diet (HFD, 60% calories from fat), HFD with 20% white carrot powders (HFD+WC), or with 20% orange carrot powders (HFD+OC). (3) Results: We observed that carotenoids in the orange carrots reduced HFD-induced weight gain, better than white carrots. Histological and triglyceride (TG) analyses revealed significantly decreased HFD-induced hepatic lipid deposition and TG increase in the HFD+WC group, which was further reduced in the HFD+OC group. Western blot analysis demonstrated inconsistent changes of fatty acid synthesis-related proteins but significantly improved ACOX-1 and CPT-II, indicating that orange carrot carotenoids had the potential to inhibit NAFLD by improving β-oxidation. Further mechanistic investigation showed significantly higher mRNA and protein levels of PPARα and its transcription factor activity. (4) Conclusions: Carotenoid-rich foods may display more potent efficacy in mitigating NAFLD than those with low carotenoid levels.

Keywords: phytochemicals, nutrition, beta-oxidation, Nuclear Receptors, Lipid Metabolism

Received: 05 Jul 2022; Accepted: 02 Sep 2022.

Copyright: © 2022 Balbuena, Cheng and Eroglu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Abdulkerim Eroglu, Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 27695-7622, North Carolina, United States