Augmentation of glucotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction in hepg2 cells by palmitic acid

Arwa Alnahdi, Annie John, Haider Raza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia are the hallmarks of diabetes and obesity. Experimental and epidemiological studies have suggested that dietary management and caloric restriction are beneficial in reducing the complications of diabesity. Studies have suggested that increased availability of energy metabolites like glucose and saturated fatty acids induces metabolic, oxidative, and mitochondrial stress, accompanied by inflammation that may lead to chronic complications in diabetes. In the present study, we used human hepatoma HepG2 cells to investigate the effects of high glucose (25 mM) and high palmitic acid (up to 0.3 mM) on metabolic-, inflammatory-, and redox-stress-associated alterations in these cells. Our results showed increased lipid, protein, and DNA damage, leading to caspase-dependent apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction. Glucolipotoxicity increased ROS production and redox stress appeared to alter mitochondrial membrane potential and bioenergetics. Our results also demonstrate the enhanced ability of cytochrome P450s-dependent drug metabolism and antioxidant adaptation in HepG2 cells treated with palmitic acid, which was further augmented with high glucose. Altered NF-kB/AMPK/mTOR-dependent cell signaling and inflammatory (IL6/TNF-a) responses were also observed. Our results suggest that the presence of high-energy metabolites enhances apoptosis while suppressing autophagy by inducing inflammatory and oxidative stress responses that may be responsible for alterations in cell signaling and metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1979
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Apoptosis
  • Glucolipotoxicity
  • HepG2 cells
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Palmitic acid
  • Redox metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Augmentation of glucotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction in hepg2 cells by palmitic acid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this