It has been reported that treatment with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) increases the survival rates in cirrhotic patients. In this study, we investigated the effect of L-valine, one of BCAAs, on liver fibrosis in rat. To induce liver fibrosis, male Wistar rats were injected carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) intraperitoneally (2.0 mL/kg) twice a week for 12 weeks. The rats (seven to fifteen rats for each group) were then administered 1.688 g/kg/day of L-valine intravenously for 7 days or 10% amino acid preparation that provided the same amount of nitrogen. Seven days after the last administration, blood platelet counts and bone marrow megakaryocyte counts were significantly higher in the valine group than in the control group (131.2 +/- 38.3 vs. 106.3 +/- 14.5 x 10(4)/microL, p = 0.04; 18.0 +/- 2.1 vs. 13.5 +/- 2.2 per field, p < 0.01, respectively). Importantly, the mRNA level of thrombopoietin, a key regulator of thrombopoiesis, was significantly higher in the liver of the valine group than the control group. Furthermore, hepatic fibrosis was significantly reduced in the valine group, and the mRNA levels of factors associated with liver fibrosis such as procollagen alpha1(III), transforming growth factor-beta1 and connective tissue growth factor were significantly lower in the liver of the valine group 10 days after the last administration. These results indicate that L-valine treatment ameliorates liver fibrosis and restores thrombopoiesis in rats exposed to CCl(4). Therefore, L-valine supplementation may be helpful for patients with liver cirrhosis.
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