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Br J Nutr. 2009 Aug;102(3):462-9. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508191243. Epub 2009 Jan 23.

Lipid peroxidation is not a prerequisite for the development of obesity and diabetes in high-fat-fed mice.

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  • 1Unit of Pharmacokinetics, Metabolism, Nutrition and Toxicology, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Universit√© catholique de Louvain, Avenue E. Mounier 73/69, Brussels, Belgium.


The mechanism, by which a high-fat (HF) diet could impair glucose metabolism, is not completely understood but could be related to inflammation, lipotoxicity and oxidative stress. Lipid peroxides have been proposed as key mediators of intracellular metabolic response. The purpose of the present study was to analyse, in mice fed with a HF diet, the possible association between obesity and glucose tolerance on the one hand, and between oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation on the other hand. The present results show that a HF diet (70 % energy as fat), v. a high-carbohydrate chow diet (control), increases body weight and fat mass development, and impairs glycaemia and insulinaemia within 4 weeks. It also promotes the expression of NADPH oxidase in the liver--signing both oxidative and inflammatory stress--but decreases thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances content in the liver as well as in epididymal, subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues. HF diet, with elevated vitamin E content, induces high concentration of alpha-tocopherol in liver and adipose tissues, which contributes to the protection against lipid peroxidation. Thus, lipid peroxidation in key organs is not necessarily related to the development of metabolic disorders associated with diabetes and obesity.

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