Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Michael La Frano

Advisor Department

Food Science and Nutrition

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents the major cause of pediatric chronic liver pathology in the United States. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of partial substitution of dietary lard by an isocaloric amount of olive or coconut oil on endpoints of NAFLD. Thirty-eight 15-d-old Iberian pigs housed in pens balanced for weight and sex were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 3 hypercaloric high-fructose high-fat (HFF) diets for 10 weeks: 1) lard (LAR; n=5 pens), 2) lard + olive oil (OLI, n=10), and 3) lard + coconut oil (COC; n=10). Additional pigs (BSL, n=4) were fed a eucaloric diet to establish baseline values. Animals were euthanized at 85 d of age after blood sampling. Liver tissue was collected for histology, metabolomics, and transcriptomics. Compared with BSL, OLI decreased high-density lipoproteins, phosphatidylcholines (PC), and total cholesterol in blood, and increased acylcarnitines in liver, whereas COC increased triacylglycerides (TAGs) in liver and blood. All HFF diets increased bile acids in liver, and decreased choline and fibroblast growth factor 19 in liver and blood. OLI and COC increased hepatic steatosis, necrosis, ballooning, and composite lesion score compared with LAR. OLI decreased gene expression of carnitine O-palmitoyltransferase 1, and COC increased expression of fatty acid binding proteins and acyl-CoA synthetase. In conclusion, partial replacement of dietary lard with olive and coconut oil dysregulated acylcarnitine metabolism and lipogenesis in the liver, increasing the severity of NAFLD in juvenile pigs.

Available for download on Sunday, May 26, 2024