Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 440–447 | Cite as

Fish Omega-3 Fatty Acids Induce Liver Fibrosis in the Treatment of Bile Duct-Ligated Rats

  • Chih-Cheng Chen
  • Chun-Yi Ho
  • Hsio-Chi Chaung
  • You-Lin Tain
  • Chih-Sung Hsieh
  • Fang-Ying Kuo
  • Chun-Yu Yang
  • Li-Tung Huang
Original Article



Biliary atresia-induced cholestasis increases hepatic oxidative stress with eventual progression to cirrhosis and liver failure. Omega-3 fatty acids play a possible role in the regulation of oxidative stress and the improvement of cholestasis.


The goal of the present study is to investigate the role of dietary supplementation of fish omega-3 fatty acids in the reduction of hepatocellular damage by using a rat common bile duct ligation model.


Sprague–Dawley rats received either sham or bile duct ligation (BDL) and were divided into four study groups: Sham+saline (Sham+sal) group, Sham+Fish oil (Sham+FO) group, BDL+saline (BDL+sal) group, and BDL+Fish oil (BDL+FO) group. Rats from each group were assigned to receive, besides regular chow, once daily with either normal saline or fish omega-3 fatty acids (0.4 % of its own body weight) via gavage for 10 days. Samples of blood, liver tissue homogenates, and histological studies from different groups were analyzed at the end of the study.


Rats from BDL+FO had significantly impaired liver function as compared to other study groups (p < 0.05 is of significant difference). Ishak scores and the TGF-b1 contents were significantly higher in rats that received BDL+FO, p < 0.05. Contrary to TGF-b1 liver content, rats from the BDL+FO group had the lowest glutathione levels among the study groups, p < 0.05.


Fish omega-3 fatty acids supplementation, albeit increased tissue content of DHA, tended to increase liver fibrosis in BDL rats, decrease liver glutathione level, and compromise hepatic function; fish oil supplementation to subjects with biliary atresia might be of potential hazard and should be used with caution.


Biliary atresia Fish omega-3 fatty acids Glutathione Liver fibrosis Liver transforming growth factor β1 Sprague–Dawley rat 



This study was supported by a research grant (CMRP 890211) from the Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital to Dr. Chih-Cheng Chen. The authors also wish to thank Dr. Arthur Chen for his grammatical input and editing work on this paper.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chih-Cheng Chen
    • 1
  • Chun-Yi Ho
    • 1
  • Hsio-Chi Chaung
    • 2
  • You-Lin Tain
    • 1
  • Chih-Sung Hsieh
    • 3
  • Fang-Ying Kuo
    • 4
  • Chun-Yu Yang
    • 5
  • Li-Tung Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.Pediatrics Department, Kaohsiung Chang-Gung Memorial HospitalChang-Gung University College of MedicineNiao Song, KaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Veterinarian DepartmentNational Pingtung University of Science and TechnologyPingtungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric SurgeryPingtung Christian HospitalPingtungTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Pathology, Kaohsiung Chang-Gung Memorial HospitalChang-Gung University College of MedicineKaohsiungTaiwan
  5. 5.Institute of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, KaohsiungMedical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan

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