Bethesda, MD -- A group of researchers from Mexico has discovered thata diet rich in soy protein may alleviate fatty liver, a disease whichoften accompanies diabetes. The details of their findings appear in theSeptember issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, an American Societyfor Biochemistry and Molecular Biology journal.
The high levels of insulin and insulin-resistance that accompanydiabetes are often associated with fatty liver or hepatic steatosis, anuntreatable condition that can lead to chronic liver disease and death.In this condition, large lipid-filled compartments accumulate in thecells of the liver due to an increase in production of fatty acids inthe liver. The end result is an enlarged liver.
Following up research that indicated that eating soy proteinreduces lipid production and prevents hyperinsulinemia (the loss ofeffectiveness of insulin), Dr. Nimbe Torres, of the Instituto Nacionalde Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion in Mexico, investigated the effects ofa diet high in soy protein on the development of fatty liver associatedwith diabetes.
Dr. Torres fed Zucker diabetic fatty rats that develophyperinsulinemia and hepatic steatosis a diet of soy protein for 160days. She found that the consumption of soy protein prevented theaccumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver despite thedevelopment of obesity and hyperinsulinemia in the rats.
"We also observed that the effects of soy protein were due to alow expression of genes involved in the synthesis of fatty acids andtriglycerides in the liver," explained Dr. Torres. "These changes weredue to a reduction in the transcription factors that control theexpression of genes involved in lipid production."
In addition, levels of a transcription factor involved incontrolling genes involved in fatty acid breakdown, as well as itstarget genes, were increased in rats fed soy protein. Thus, feedingrats a soy-rich diet reduced the amount of fatty acid in their liver bynot only reducing lipid production but also by increasing itsbreakdown.
Although further research is needed, Dr. Torres believes thatconsuming soy protein could very well reduce insulin resistance, renaldamage, and fatty liver, improving quality of life.
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with over 11,000members in the United States and internationally. Most members teachand conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conductresearch in various government laboratories, nonprofit researchinstitutions, and industry.
Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, onthe campus of the Federation of American Societies for ExperimentalBiology. The Society's primary purpose is to advance the sciences ofbiochemistry and molecular biology through its publications, theJournal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Lipid Research,Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, and Biochemistry and MolecularBiology Education, and the holding of scientific meetings.
For more information about ASBMB, see the Society's website at www.asbmb.org.
The manuscript for the Journal of Lipid Research paper can be downloaded from the following URL:http://www.jlr.org/cgi/content/abstract/M500067-JLR200
The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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