Consumption of decaffeinated coffee protects against the development of early non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: Role of intestinal barrier function

alt shift diet

Alt shift diet

decaffeinated coffee protects mice from the development of NAFLD.

decaffeinated coffee attenuated increased translocation of bacterial endotoxins.

decaffeinated coffee prevents diet-induced induction of iNOS in small intestine.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common liver diseases worldwide lacking universally accepted therapies. Studies suggest that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of NAFLD; however, molecular mechanisms and ingredients involved remain to be fully understood. Here, we determined the effects of regular intake of decaffeinated coffee on the development of NAFLD in mice, and molecular mechanisms involved.

Female C57BL/6J mice (n = 6–7/ group) were pair-fed either a liquid control diet (C) or fat-, fructose- and cholesterol-rich diet (FFC) +/- decaffeinated coffee (DeCaf, 6 g/kg BW) for 4 days or 6 weeks. Indices of liver damage, hepatic inflammation and parameters of insulin resistance and intestinal permeability as well as nitric oxide system were determined.

Early signs of insulin resistance and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) found after 6 weeks of FFC feeding were significantly lower in FFC+DeCaf-fed mice when compared to FFC-fed animals. Moreover, elevation of portal endotoxin levels and loss of tight junction proteins in proximal small intestine found in FFC-fed mice were significantly attenuated in FFC+DeCaf-fed animals. These beneficial effects of DeCaf were associated with a protection against the significant induction of inducible NO-synthase protein levels and 3-nitrotyrosine protein adducts found in proximal small intestine of FFC-fed mice. Similar protective effects of DeCaf were also found in mice fed the FFC diet short-term.


Our results suggest that protective effects of DeCaf on the development of NAFLD are at least in part related to maintaining intestinal barrier function.

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