Oral Administration of β-Glucosylceramide for the Treatment of Insulin Resistance and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis: Results of a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Gadi Lalazar, Ehud Zigmond, Sarah Weksler-Zangen, Ami Ben Ya'acov, Miriam Sklair Levy, Nilla Hemed, Itamar Raz, Yaron Ilan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

β-glucosylceramide (GC) is a naturally occurring glycosphingolipid that was shown to improve hepatic steatosis, steatohepatitis, and insulin resistance in animal models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In this study, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of oral administration of GC in subjects with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Twenty-three patients with biopsy proven NASH were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients were orally administered daily with 7.5 mg of GC. Patients were followed for safety, liver enzymes, HbA1c, insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, hepatic fat content as measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and NASH score on liver biopsy. No treatment-related adverse events were observed during treatment. In a per protocol analysis of data, oral administration of GC decreased the hepatic fat content as measured by MRI in GC-treated compared with placebo. HbA1C decreased in patients treated with GC. GC treatment was associated with a milder decrease in the high-density lipoprotein serum levels. The beneficial effects were associated with a decrease in CD4 and NKT cell subsets of lymphocytes. Due to the small number of subjects enrolled, differences did reach statistical significance. Oral administration of GC is safe and biologically active in patients with NASH and insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-464
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medicinal Food
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • NASH
  • NKT cells
  • diabetes
  • insulin resistance
  • β-glucosylceramide

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