Lipoic acid improves mitochondrial function in non-alcoholic steatosis through the stimulation of sirtuin 1 and sirtuin 3
Nonalcoholic steatosis is an important hepatic complication of obesity linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Lipoic acid (LA) has been reported to have beneficial effects on mitochondrial function and to attenuate oxidative stress. The sirtuin (SIRT) family has been demonstrated to play an important role in the regulation of mitochondrial function and in the activation of antioxidant defenses. In this study, we analyzed the potential protective effect of LA supplementation, via the modulation of mitochondrial defenses through the SIRT pathway, against oxidative stress associated with high-fat feeding. Wistar rats were fed a standard diet (control group (C), n = 10), a high-fat diet (obese group (OB), n = 10) and a high-fat diet supplemented with LA (OLIP, n = 10). A group pair-fed to the latter group (pair-fed OLIP group (PFO), n = 6) was also included. LA prevented hepatic triglyceride (TG) accumulation (-68.2%) and liver oxidative damage (P < 0.01) through the inhibition of hydroperoxide (H2O2) production (P < 0.001) and the stimulation of mitochondrial antioxidant defenses. LA treatment upregulated manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2) (60.6%) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) (100.2%) activities, and increased the reduced glutathione (GSH): oxidized glutathione (GSSG) ratio and UCP2 mRNA levels (P < 0.001-P < 0.01). Moreover, this molecule reduced oxidative damage in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and increased mitochondrial copy number (P < 0.001-P < 0.01). LA treatment decreased the acetylation levels of Forkhead transcription factor 3a (Foxo3a) and PGC1 beta (P < 0.001-P < 0.01) through the stimulation of SIRT3 and SIRT1 (P < 0.001). In summary, our results demonstrate that the beneficial effects of LA supplementation on hepatic steatosis could be mediated by its ability to restore the oxidative balance by increasing antioxidant defenses through the deacetylation of Foxo3a and PGC1 beta by SIRT1 and SIRT3.