Monosodium glutamate (MSG): a villain and promoter of liver inflammation and dysplasia.
Nakanishi Y, Tsuneyama K, Fujimoto M, Salunga TL, Nomoto K, An JL, Takano Y, Iizuka S, Nagata M, Suzuki W, Shimada T, Aburada M, Nakano M, Selmi C, Gershwin ME.
Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan.
Chronic inflammation is a common theme in a variety of disease pathways, including autoimmune diseases. The pathways of chronic inflammation are well illustrated by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is of a serious concern due to its increasing prevalence in the westernized world and its direct correlation with lifestyle factors, particularly diet. Importantly, NASH may ultimately lead to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. We previously reported that injection of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in ICR mice leads to the development of significant inflammation, central obesity, and type 2 diabetes. To directly address the long-term consequences of MSG on inflammation, we have performed serial analysis of MSG-injected mice and focused in particular on liver pathology. By 6 and 12 months of age, all MSG-treated mice developed NAFLD and NASH-like histology, respectively. In particular, the murine steatohepatitis at 12 months was virtually undistinguishable from human NASH. Further, dysplastic nodular lesions were detected in some cases within the fibrotic liver parenchyma. We submit that MSG treatment of mice induces obesity and diabetes with steatosis and steatohepatitis resembling human NAFLD and NASH with pre-neoplastic lesions. These results take on considerable significance in light of the widespread usage of dietary MSG and we suggest that MSG should have its safety profile re-examined and be potentially withdrawn from the food chain.
Sensory and autonomic nerve changes in the monosodium glutamate-treated rat: a model of type II diabetes.
Rats that had been injected with monosodium glutamate (MSG) neonatally were studied for up to 70 weeks and compared with age-matched control rats to study changes in glucose tolerance and in sympathetic and sensory nerves. At 61 and 65 weeks of age, there were significant differences in glucose tolerance between the MSG and control groups, and the MSG group had raised fasting blood glucose. These changes were not associated with changes in the number of beta-cells in the islets of Langerhans. In addition, the diabetic MSG-treated rats had central obesity and cataracts. Hypoalgesia to thermal stimuli was present in MSG-treated rats as early as 6 weeks and persisted at 70 weeks. However, no differences were observed in the distribution of substance P, the neurokinin-1 receptor or calcitonin gene-related peptide in the dorsal horn of L3-L5 at this age (70 weeks). Diabetic MSG-treated animals at 65 and 70 weeks of age had significantly reduced noradrenaline concentrations in the heart, tail artery and ileum, while concentrations in the adrenal gland and corpus cavernosum were significantly increased. There was also a significant increase in adrenal adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin, largely attributable to changes in weight of the adrenal gland in the MSG-treated animals. The results indicate that MSG-treated animals develop a form of type II diabetes by about 60 weeks of age, and that there are significant changes in amine levels in various tissues associated with these developments.
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