We sought to investigate the potential protective effect of Vitamin E supplementation against hepatocyte ultrastructural alterations induced by high fat diet (HFD) in a rat model of pre-diabetes. Therefore, rats were either fed with HFD (model group) or a standard laboratory chow (control group) for 12 weeks before being sacrificed. The protective group fed on a HFD and started the treatment with vitamin E (100 mg/kg/day, i.p) from day 1 until being sacrificed at week 12. The harvested liver tissues were examined using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and blood samples were assayed for biomarkers of liver injury and pre- diabetes. TEM images showed that HFD induced profound pathological changes to the hepatocyte ultrastructure as demonstrated by degenerated hepatocytes with damaged cytoplasm that have mitochondrial swelling, dilation of endoplasmic reticulum, blebbing of plasma membranes, and cytoplasmic accumulations of lipid droplets and vacuoles, which were substantially but not completely protected with vitamin E. In addition, HFD significantly (p<0.05) augmented biomarkers of liver injury and pre-diabetes such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), malondialdehyde (MDA), total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), which were significantly (p<0.05) reduced with vitamin E except TNF-α and TC. Furthermore, none of these biomarkers were reduced to the control level by vitamin E. We conclude that vitamin E is a partial protective agent against HFD-induced liver injury and pre-diabetes.
KEY WORDS: Hepatocyte ultrastructure; Pre-diabetes; Hepatic steatosis; Vitamin E; Animal model.