Beneficial Effect of Vitamin D on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Progression in the Zebrafish Model

Lihi Grinberg, Fadwa Dabbah Assadi, Gideon Baum, Romy Zemel, Ran Tur-Kaspa, Chen Shochat, David Karasik, Marcela V. Karpuj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) results from excessive liver fat accumulation. Vitamin D (VitD) plays multiple important roles in diverse physiologic processes. Here, we describe the role of VitD in the complex pathogenesis of NAFLD and explore the possible therapeutic role of VitD supplementation in NAFLD therapy. To compare the effect of VitD to other interventions such as low-calorie diet, we induced NAFLD in young adult zebrafish (Danio rerio, AB strain) and monitored the effects of VitD supplementation on the disease course. The zebrafish administered with high-dose VitD (1.25 μg) had significantly reduced liver fat compared to those that received low-dose VitD (0.049 μg) or caloric restriction. Gene expression analysis revealed that VitD downregulated several pathways that may play a role in NAFLD etiology, which affected fatty acid metabolism, vitamins and their cofactors, ethanol oxidation, and glycolysis. The pathway analysis revealed that the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway and the isoprenoid biosynthetic process pathway were significantly upregulated whereas the small molecule catabolic process pathway significantly downregulated following the exposure of NAFLD zebrafish model to high VitD dose. Therefore, our findings suggest the association of novel biochemical pathways with NAFLD and highlight the potential of VitD supplementation to reverse the severity of NAFLD, especially in younger people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1362
Issue number6
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2023

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  • dyslipidemia
  • vitamin D
  • zebrafish


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