Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy reveals increased hepatic lipid content after a single high-fat meal with no additional modulation by added protein

L. Lindeboom, C.I. Nabuurs, M.K. Hesselink, J.E. Wildberger, P. Schrauwen, V.B. Schrauwen-Hinderling*

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: Fat accumulation in nonadipose tissue is linked to insulin resistance and metabolic diseases. Earlier studies have shown that hepatic lipid accumulation can occur after 4 d of a high-fat diet in humans, and this fat accumulation can be blunted by the ingestion of additional proteins. OBJECTIVES: In this study, we explored whether a single high-fat meal increased the lipid content in liver and skeletal muscle as measured by using in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) and whether the addition of protein can modulate the postprandial ectopic lipid storage. DESIGN: Intrahepatic lipid (IHL) and intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) concentrations were determined by using (1)H-MRS before and 3 and 5 h after a high-fat with added protein meal (61.5% of energy from fat) or a high-fat without added protein meal (mean +/- SEM: 51.1 +/- 7.9 g of protein; 191.9 +/- 9.9 kcal added) in a randomized crossover study. IHL and IMCL concentrations were converted to absolute concentrations (g/kg wet weight) by using water as an internal reference. RESULTS: Nine lean, healthy subjects [6 men and 3 women; mean (+/-SD) age: 22.7 +/- 3.0 y; mean body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 21.8 +/- 1.8] were included in this study. IHL concentrations increased approximately 20% (P < 0.01) at 3 h after the meal and did not further increase after 5 h. In contrast, IMCL concentrations were not altered during the postprandial period (P = 0.74). The addition of protein to a single high-fat meal did not change the postprandial accumulation of fat in the liver (P = 0.93) or skeletal muscle (P = 0.84). CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we showed that a single energy-dense, high-fat meal induced net lipid accumulation in the liver, which was detected by using in vivo (1)H-MRS. This noninvasive approach might bring new opportunities to study postprandial hepatic lipid dynamics. The addition of protein did not change the ectopic lipid retention after a single high-fat meal. This trial was registered at as NCT01709643.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • H-1-MRS
  • IHL
  • IMCL
  • postprandial
  • protein

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