Treatment with a new barbituric acid derivative suppresses diet-induced metabolic dysfunction and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice

Fat Moon Suk, Fang Yu Hsu, Ming Hua Hsu, Wan Chun Chiu, Cheng Chieh Fang, Tzu Lang Chen, Yi Jen Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease, often accompanied by obesity, diabetes, and increased risks of depression and anxiety. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs to treat NAFLD and its related systemic symptoms. Previously, we identified a new barbituric acid derivative (BA-5) that expressed effectiveness against fibrosis and drug-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma. Aims: This study investigated the potential of BA-5 against high-fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFLD and mood disorders in mice. Main methods: Six-weeks-old male C57BL/6 mice were fed with a 45 % HFD for 8 weeks to induce NAFLD and associated metabolic disorders. Mice were treated with a BA-5 and the therapeutic effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms were investigated. Key findings: Administration of BA-5 significantly reduced serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), fatty acids (FA), and triglycerides (TG) in HFD-fed mice. BA-5 treatment decreased expressions of hepatic lipogenesis-related markers (acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), fatty acid synthase (FAS), and ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY)), increased fatty acid oxidation markers (carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A) and acyl-CoA oxidase 1 (ACOX1)), and attenuated hepatic fat accumulation in HFD-fed mice. Moreover, HFD-induced adipocyte size enlargement and activation of lipolysis markers such as phosphorylated (p)-hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) 565, p-HSL 660, and perilipin were inhibited in BA-5-treated mice. Notably, HFD-induced anxiety- and depression-like behaviors significantly improved in the BA-5 treated group through enhanced anti-inflammatory responses in the hippocampus. Significance: This study provides new insights into clinical therapeutic strategies of barbituric acid derivatives for HFD-induced NAFLD and associated mood disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122327
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2024


  • Barbituric acid derivative
  • Depression
  • High-fat diet
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Treatment with a new barbituric acid derivative suppresses diet-induced metabolic dysfunction and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this