Background and aims: One of the most common causes of liver disease is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and its prevalence along with serious clinical problem is a growing. No studies have been conducted on the effect of calorie restriction (CR) and aerobic exercise (AE) on nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2 (Nrf2) in rats with NAFLD. The present study aimed to assess the effects of 12 weeks of CR and AE on Nrf2 protein expression in rats with NAFLD.
Methods: A total of 40 rats participated in this study, and 32 of them developed NAFLD by feeding fatty food (34% fat, 19% protein, and 47% carbohydrates) for eight weeks. Rats were classified into five groups: sham, control, CR, AE, and calorie restriction-aerobic exercise (CA). First, 60% of the daily diet was given to the CR and CA groups. AE was done for 12 weeks, five sessions per week on a treadmill for rats. Oil red, hematoxylin-eosin (H & E) staining, and protein expression levels in the groups were evaluated. To analyze the data, one-way ANOVA was used at a significance level of P<0.05.
Results: The results showed a significant difference between the liver fat of the control group and other groups (RC: P=0.001, AE: P=0.001, RA: P=0.001). In healing liver damage, the control group was significantly different from the CA group (P=0.002). Regarding the Nrf2 protein expression, the CA group had significantly higher expression than the CR group (P=0.028), however there was no significant difference between the CA and AE groups (P=0.44).
Conclusion: The findings revealed that AE through CR can cause recovery for NAFLD.