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Chronic alcohol abuse is a 2nd major cause of liver disease resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is characterized by a wide spectrum of pathologies starting from fat accumulation (steatosis) in early reversible stage to inflammation with or without fibrosis and cirrhosis in later irreversible stages. Previously, we reported significant steatosis in the livers of hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH)-deficient (ADH−) vs. hepatic ADH-normal (ADH+) deer mice fed 4% ethanol daily for 2 months [Bhopale et al., 2006, Alcohol 39, 179–188]. However, ADH− deer mice fed 4% ethanol also showed a significant mortality. Therefore, a dose-dependent study was conducted to understand the mechanism and identify lipid(s) involved in the development of ethanol-induced fatty liver. ADH− and ADH+ deer mice fed 1, 2 or 3.5% ethanol daily for 2 months and fatty infiltration in the livers were evaluated by histology and by measuring dry weights of extracted lipids. Lipid metabolomic changes in extracted lipids were determined by proton (1H) and 31phosphorus (31P) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The NMR data was analyzed by hierarchical clustering (HC) and principle component analysis (PCA) for pattern recognition. Extensive vacuolization by histology and significantly increased dry weights of total lipids found only in the livers of ADH− deer mice fed 3.5% ethanol vs. pair-fed controls suggest a dose-dependent formation of fatty liver in ADH− deer mouse model. Analysis of NMR data of ADH− deer mice fed 3.5% ethanol vs. pair-fed controls shows increases for total cholesterol, esterified cholesterol, fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs), triacylglycerides and unsaturation, and decreases for free cholesterol, phospholipids and allylic and diallylic protons. Certain classes of neutral lipids (cholesterol esters, fatty acyl chain (COCH2) and FAMEs) were also mildly increased in ADH− deer mice fed 1 or 2% ethanol. Only small increases were observed for allylic and diallylic protons, FAMEs and unsaturations in ADH+ deer mice fed 3.5% ethanol vs. pair-fed controls. PCA of NMR data showed increased clustering by gradual separation of ethanol-fed ADH− deer mice groups from their respective pair-fed control groups and corresponding ethanol-fed ADH+ deer mice groups. Our data indicate that dose of ethanol and hepatic ADH deficiency are two key factors involved in initiation and progression of alcoholic fatty liver disease. Further studies on characterization of individual lipid entities and associated metabolic pathways altered in our deer mouse model after different durations of ethanol feeding could be important to delineate mechanism(s) and identify potential biomarker candidate(s) of early stage ALD.
► Dose-dependent ethanol-induced fatty liver was studied in deer mouse model.
► A NMR-based lipidomic approach with histology and dry lipid weights was used.
► We used principal component analysis (PCA) to analyze the NMR lipidomic data.
► Dose-dependent clustering patterns by PCA were compared among the groups.
Journal: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology - Volume 264, Issue 3, 1 November 2012, Pages 361–369