Study Reveals Protective Effects of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate Supplementation on Liver Injury (Medicine)

As a key metabolic organ and a major site for detoxification in the body, the liver plays an important role in protecting body from bacteria and their toxic products, such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS).

β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a derivative of leucine and metabolized in the liver from the keto acid of leucine. Although most of the endogenous HMB is generated in the liver, how HMB supplementation affects subjects with liver disease remains unclear.

Recently, a team of researchers from China Agricultural University and the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture (ISA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences revealed the role of HMB supplementation in liver injury.

Their findings were published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity on April 2.Using a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged piglet model, the researchers found that HMB supplementation ameliorated liver histomorphological abnormalities and restored the elevation of serum activities of aspartate aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase (useful biochemical indicator of liver injury) induced by LPS challenge.

The results suggest that HMB exerted beneficial effects on the inhibition of liver injury. Upon further investigation, they found that the mechanism might be associated with improved hepatic energy metabolism via regulating AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway and reduced liver inflammation via modulating toll-like receptor 4 and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain protein signaling pathways.

These findings may help developing new interventions to ameliorate liver injury and dysfunction in animals and humans with exposure to endotoxin.

Featured image: Histological examination of the liver samples of piglets injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or saline. Sections were obtained with haematoxylin and eosin (×200). CON: control; HMB: β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate. © Duan et al.

Reference: Yehui Duan, Bo Song, Changbing Zheng, Yinzhao Zhong, Qiuping Guo, Jie Zheng, Yulong Yin, Jianjun Li, Fengna Li, “Dietary Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methyl Butyrate Supplementation Alleviates Liver Injury in Lipopolysaccharide-Challenged Piglets”, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2021, Article ID 5546843, 9 pages, 2021.

Provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences

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