Ketogenic diet enhances the cholesterol accumulation in liver and augments the severity of ccl4 and taa-induced liver fibrosis in mice

Yi Jen Liao, Yuan Hsi Wang, Chien Ying Wu, Fang Yu Hsu, Chia Ying Chien, Yi Chieh Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Persistent chronic liver diseases increase the scar formation and extracellular matrix accumulation that further progress to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Nevertheless, there is no antifibrotic therapy to date. The ketogenic diet is composed of high fat, moderate to low-protein, and very low carbohydrate content. It is mainly used in epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the effects of the ketogenic diet on liver fibrosis remains unknown. Through ketogenic diet consumption, β-hydroxybutyrate (bHB) and acetoacetate (AcAc) are two ketone bodies that are mainly produced in the liver. It is reported that bHB and AcAc treatment decreases cancer cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis. However, the influence of bHB and AcAc in hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and liver fibrosis are still unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of the keto-genic diet and ketone bodies in affecting liver fibrosis progression. Our study revealed that feeding a high-fat ketogenic diet increased cholesterol accumulation in the liver, which further enhanced the carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-and thioacetamide (TAA)-induced liver fibrosis. In addition, more severe liver inflammation and the loss of hepatic antioxidant and detoxification ability were also found in ketogenic diet-fed fibrotic mouse groups. However, the treatment with ketone bodies (bHB and AcAc) did not suppress transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-induced HSC activation, plate-let-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB-triggered proliferation, and the severity of CCl4-induced liver fibrosis in mice. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that feeding a high-fat ketogenic diet may trigger severe steatohepatitis and thereby promote liver fibrosis progression. Since a different keto-genic diet composition may exert different metabolic effects, more evidence is necessary to clarify the effects of a ketogenic diet on disease treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2934
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2021


  • Acetoacetate
  • Hepatic stellate cells
  • High-fat ketogenic diet
  • Liver fibrosis
  • β-hydroxybutyrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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