Modulation of hepatic inflammation and energy-sensing pathways in the rat liver by high-fructose diet and chronic stress

  • Nataša Veličković
  • Ana Teofilović
  • Dragana Ilić
  • Ana Djordjevic
  • Danijela Vojnović Milutinović
  • Snježana Petrović
  • Frederic Preitner
  • Luc Tappy
  • Gordana Matić
Original Contribution



High-fructose consumption and chronic stress are both associated with metabolic inflammation and insulin resistance. Recently, disturbed activity of energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) was recognized as mediator between nutrient-induced stress and inflammation. Thus, we analyzed the effects of high-fructose diet, alone or in combination with chronic stress, on glucose homeostasis, inflammation and expression of energy sensing proteins in the rat liver.


In male Wistar rats exposed to 9-week 20% fructose diet and/or 4-week chronic unpredictable stress we measured plasma and hepatic corticosterone level, indicators of glucose homeostasis and lipid metabolism, hepatic inflammation (pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels, Toll-like receptor 4, NLRP3, activation of NFκB, JNK and ERK pathways) and levels of energy-sensing proteins AMPK, SIRT1 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha (PGC-1α).


High-fructose diet led to glucose intolerance, activation of NFκB and JNK pathways and increased intrahepatic IL-1β, TNFα and inhibitory phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 on Ser307. It also decreased phospho-AMPK/AMPK ratio and increased SIRT1 expression. Stress alone increased plasma and hepatic corticosterone but did not influence glucose tolerance, nor hepatic inflammatory or energy-sensing proteins. After the combined treatment, hepatic corticosterone was increased, glucose tolerance remained preserved, while hepatic inflammation was partially prevented despite decreased AMPK activity.


High-fructose diet resulted in glucose intolerance, hepatic inflammation, decreased AMPK activity and reduced insulin sensitivity. Chronic stress alone did not exert such effects, but when applied together with high-fructose diet it could partially prevent fructose-induced inflammation, presumably due to increased hepatic glucocorticoids.


Inflammation AMP-activated protein kinase Dietary fructose Stress Rat liver 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Grant III41009) and SCOPES JRP (Grant no. IZ73ZO_152331). The authors gratefully appreciate Dr. Đurđica Ignjatović for providing ERK and phospho-ERK antibodies, Dr. Desa Milanović for providing phospho-AMPK antibody and Dr. Ivana Stojanović for providing NLRP3 antibody.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nataša Veličković
    • 1
  • Ana Teofilović
    • 1
  • Dragana Ilić
    • 1
  • Ana Djordjevic
    • 1
  • Danijela Vojnović Milutinović
    • 1
  • Snježana Petrović
    • 2
  • Frederic Preitner
    • 3
  • Luc Tappy
    • 4
  • Gordana Matić
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”University of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Centre of Research Excellence in Nutrition and Metabolism, Institute for Medical ResearchUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  3. 3.Mouse Metabolic Facility (MEF), Center for Integrative GenomicsUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of Lausanne, UNIL-CHUVLausanneSwitzerland

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