AIM: To investigate the metabolic changes in skeletal muscle and/or adipose tissue in glucagon-like peptide- 1-induced improvement of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). METHODS: Male Wistar rats were fed either a control diet (control group) or a high-fat diet (HFD). After 4 wk, the HFD-fed rats were subdivided into two groups; one group was injected with exenatide [HFD-Ex(+) group] and the other with saline [HFD-Ex(-) group] every day for 12 wk. The control group received saline and were fed a control diet. Changes in weight gain, energy intake, and oxygen consumption were analyzed. Glucose tolerance tests were performed after 8 wk of treatment. Histological assessments were performed in liver and adipose tissue. RNA expression levels of lipid metabolism related genes were evaluated in liver, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue. RESULTS: Exenatide attenuated weight gain [HFDEx(-) vs HFD-Ex(+)] and reduced energy intake, which was accompanied by an increase in oxygen consumption and a decrease in the respiratory exchange ratio [HFD-Ex(-) vs HFD-Ex(+)]. However, exenatide did not affect glucose tolerance. Exenatide reduced lipid content in the liver and adipose tissue. Exenatide did not affect the expression of lipid metabolism-related genes in the liver or skeletal muscle. In adipose tissue, exenatide significantly upregulated lipolytic genes, including hormone-sensitive lipase, carnitine palmitoyltransferase- 1, long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, and acyl-CoA oxidase 1 [HFD-Ex(-) vs HFD-Ex(+)]. Exenatide also upregulated catalase and superoxide dismutase 2 [HFD-Ex(-) vs HFD-Ex(+)]. CONCLUSION: In addition to reducing appetite, enhanced lipid use by exenatide in adipose tissue may reduce hepatic lipid content in NAFLD, most likely by decreasing lipid influx into the liver.
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