Dietary fructose and copper interaction may play an important role in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In this study, whether or not modest fructose consumption (3% fructose, w/v) (which is more closely related to the American lifestyle with regard to sugar beverage consumption) affects copper status, and causes liver injury and fat accumulation in marginal copper deficient rats was investigated.

Design and Methods

Male weanling Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either an adequate copper (6ppm) or a marginally copper deficient (1.6ppm) diet for 4 weeks. Deionized water or deionized water containing 3% fructose (w/v) was given ad lib.


Modest fructose consumption further impaired copper status in the marginal copper deficient rats and increased hepatic iron accumulation. Liver injury and fat accumulation were significantly induced in the marginal copper deficient rats exposed to fructose.


Our data suggest that modest fructose consumption can impair copper status and lead to hepatic iron overload, which in turn, may lead to liver injury and fatty liver in marginal copper deficient rats. This study provides important information on dietary fructose and copper interaction, suggesting that dietary fructose-induced low copper availability might be an important mechanism underlying fructose-induced fatty liver.