Objective: Hazelnut oil (HO) is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This study intended to analyze the effects of hazelnut oil supplementation on the serum lipid profile and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in hamsters fed a high-cholesterol (HC) diet. Methods: Hamsters were fed a basic diet (control group) and an HC diet (HC group) for 16 weeks (n = 10 in each group). Hamsters were fed an HC diet for four weeks to induce hyperlipidemia and were then fed an HC diet enriched with 5% (low-dose HC + HO group; n = 10) and 10% HO (high-dose HC + HO group; n = 10) for 12 weeks. Serum lipid levels, hepatic changes (including steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis), and hepatic prooxidant-antioxidant status (malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione S-transferase (GST)) were evaluated after the treatment period. Results: Hamsters in the control group showed normal serum lipid profiles, normal liver function, and moderate glycogen storage without hepatic steatosis. Hamsters in the HC group showed severe hyperlipidemia, severe hepatic steatosis, and moderate steatohepatitis (mononuclear cell and neutrophil infiltration, oval cell hyperplasia, and fibrosis). Compared to the HC group, both the low-dose and the high-dose HC + HO groups showed a significant reduction of hyperlipidemia (serum triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C levels)) and improved liver function (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) and serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT)). Additionally, compared to the HC group, intrahepatic triglyceride accumulation (IHTC) was significantly higher in the HC + HO group, while the incidence of steatohepatitis was significantly lower. The intake of the HC diet was associated with a higher level of lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde, MDA) and a lower concentration of hepatic antioxidant enzymes (SOD, GPx, and GST), and all these factors were partially improved in the low-dose and high-dose HC + HO groups. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the intake of HO reduced serum hyperlipidemia and oxidative stress and ameliorated the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in hamsters fed a high-cholesterol diet.
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