In the present study, we investigated the role of NADPH oxidase in F (fructose)-rich-diet-induced hepatic OS (oxidative stress) and metabolic changes, and their prevention by apocynin co-administration. Wistar rats were fed for 21 days on (i) a control diet, (ii) a control diet plus 10% F in the drinking water, (iii) a control diet with apocynin in the drinking water (CA) and (iv) F plus apocynin in the drinking water (FA). Glycaemia, triglyceridaemia, NEFAs (non-esterified fatty acids) and insulinaemia were determined. In the liver, we measured (i) NADPH oxidase activity, and gene and protein expression; (ii) protein carbonyl groups, GSH and TBARSs (thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances); (iii) catalase, CuZn-SOD (superoxide dismutase) and Mn-SOD expression; (iv) liver glycogen and lipid content; (v) GK (glucokinase), G6Pase (glucose-6-phosphatase) and G6PDH (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) activities; (vi) FAS (fatty acid synthase), GPAT (glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase), G6Pase and G6PDH, IL-1β (interleukin-1β), PAI-1 (plasminogen-activator inhibitor-1) and TNFα (tumour necrosis factor α) gene expression; and (vii) IκBα (inhibitor of nuclear factor κB α) protein expression. F-fed animals had high serum TAG (triacylglycerol), NEFA and insulin levels, high liver NADPH oxidase activity/expression, increased OS markers, reduced antioxidant enzyme expression, and increased glycogen, TAG storage and GK, G6Pase and G6PDH activities. They also had high G6Pase, G6PDH, FAS, GPAT, TNFα and IL-1β gene expression and decreased IκBα expression. Co-administration of apocynin to F-fed rats prevented the development of most of these abnormalities. In conclusion, NADPH oxidase plays a key role in F-induced hepatic OS production and probably also in the mechanism of liver steatosis, suggesting its potential usefulness for the prevention/treatment of T2DM (Type 2 diabetes mellitus).

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