Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), appears to be increasingly common worldwide. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of 6-gingerol ((S
)-5-hydroxy-1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-3-decanone), a bioactive ingredient of plants belonging to the Zingiberaceae
family, on experimental models of NASH. In HepG2 cells, 6-gingerol (100 μmol/L) treatment inhibited free fatty acids mixture (0.33 mmol/L palmitate and 0.66 mmol/L oleate)-induced triglyceride and inflammatory marker accumulations. Male C57BL/6 mice were fed with a methionine and choline-deficient (MCD) diet to induce steatohepatitis. After four weeks of MCD diet feeding, the mice were dosed orally with 6-gingerol (25, 50 or 100 mg/kg/day) once daily for another four weeks. 6-Gingerol (100 mg/kg/day) attenuated liver steatosis and necro-inflammation in MCD diet-fed mice. The expressions of inflammatory cytokine genes, including those for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interleukin-6, and nuclear transcription factor (NF-κB), which were increased in the livers of MCD diet-fed mice, were attenuated by 6-gingerol. 6-Gingerol possesses a repressive property on hepatic steatosis, which is associated with induction of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α. Our study demonstrated the protective role of 6-gingerol in ameliorating nutritional steatohepatitis. The effect was mediated through regulating key genes related to lipid metabolism and inflammation.
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