Background Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or more appropriately, metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), is the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. An imbalance of copper homeostasis has been described in the progression of NAFLD/MAFLD toward NASH/MASH. We were interested in understanding whether the chelating activity of Oleuropein (Ole) was able to improve the copper accumulation and the related pro-oxidant and glycative damage in the liver of mice fed HFD. Methods Twelve C57BL/6J mice fed normal diet (ND) or high-fat diet (HFD) for 16 weeks and then thirty two female and male mice fed ND or HFD for 8 weeks adding Ole for the following 8 weeks were studied. Results Altered expression of copper-trafficking genes and proteins (CTR1, CTR2, ATP7B, COX17, CCS, and ATOX1) induced imbalance of copper homeostasis combined with an increase in dicarbonyl stress in the liver of HFD fed mice. Interestingly enough, glyoxalase system was improved by Ole administration and the Ole related protective effects differ in the two sexes of mice. Conclusions Our study highlights the role of the dicarbonyl stress in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and suggests Ole as a natural copper chelator to prevent the liver damage induced by methyglyoxal pathway derangement.
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