• BCAA;
  • DNA microarray;
  • Liver cirrhosis;
  • Nutritional status;
  • Skeletal muscle


This study addresses the effects of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) on global gene expression in liver and skeletal muscle and the molecular mechanisms underlying the improvement in liver cirrhosis using DNA microarray analysis combined with RNase protection assay.

Methods and results

Male Wistar rats administered carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) repeatedly for 19 weeks as a decompensated cirrhosis model were thereafter given BCAA-enriched diet (AL) or normal diet (LC) for 5 weeks. The control-diet rats without CCl4 administration were used as a normal control group. Gene expression in AL was reversed by twofold greater than in LC in the microarray were selected to elucidate the improvements in nutritional and metabolic disorders. Downregulation of fatty acid translocase (FAT)/Cd36, glutamine synthetase, and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isoenzyme 4 is believed to promote lower uptake of fatty acids, lower ammonia incorporation, and higher uptake of glucose, and thus to provide an energy source without using BCAA. Ultimately, the catabolism of BCAA and skeletal muscle protein would be slowed, maintaining BCAA concentrations in blood.


We established, for the first time, the regulatory gene pathways of processes involved in hepatic fibrosis and energy metabolism (hypoalbuminemia, hyperammonemia, and carbohydrate catabolism, and their relationships) under BCAA supplementation.