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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Camel milk ameliorates steatohepatitis, insulin resistance and lipid peroxidation in experimental non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Aida A Korish1* and Maha M Arafah2

Author Affiliations

1 Physiology Department (29) College of Medicine, King Saud University, PO Box 2925, Riyadh 11461, Saudi Arabia

2 Pathology Department, College of Medicine, King Saud University, PO Box 2925, Riyadh 11461, Saudi Arabia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:264  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-264

Published: 13 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Camel milk (CM) is gaining increasing recognition due to its beneficial effects in the control and prevention of multiple health problems. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of CM on the hepatic biochemical and cellular alterations induced by a high-fat, cholesterol-rich diet (HCD), specifically, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Methods

Seventy male Wistar rats were divided into four groups: the Control (C) Group fed a standard diet; the Control + camel milk (CCM) Group fed a standard diet and CM, the Cholesterol (Ch) Group fed a HCD with no CM, and the Cholesterol + camel milk (ChM) Group fed a HCD and CM. The following parameters were investigated in the studied groups; basal, weekly random and final fasting blood glucose levels, intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (GTT) and insulin tolerance test (ITT), serum insulin, serum lipids, liver functions, lipid peroxidation products, the antioxidant activity of catalase (CAT) and the levels of reduced glutathione (GSH). In addition, HOMA-IR as an index of insulin resistance (IR) and the histopathology of the hepatic tissue were assessed.

Results

The Ch Group developed features similar to those of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), characterized by hepatic steatosis; inflammatory cellular infiltration in liver tissue; altered liver functions; and increased total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, atherogenic index (AI), blood glucose, IR, and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. Additionally, feeding the HCD to animals in the Ch Group decreased CAT activity and the GSH and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Camel milk intake for eight weeks decreased hepatic fat accumulation and inflammatory cellular infiltration, preserved liver function, increased the GSH levels and CAT activity, decreased the MDA levels, and ameliorated the changes in the lipid profile, AI, and IR in animals from the ChM Group.

Conclusions

CM has a unique composition that is rich in minerals; vitamins, insulin and insulin-like protein, and it increased HDL-cholesterol and ameliorated the biochemical and cellular features of NAFLD in rats that received a HCD. The antioxidant effect of CM is a likely mechanism for the altered metabolism and absorption of HCD in the presence of CM. Regular consumption of CM could provide a natural way to protect against NAFLD induced by a high-fat diet.

Keywords:
Camel milk; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Steatohepatitis; High-fat diet; Insulin resistance; Hyperlipidemia; Oxidative stress; Rats