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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 3;279(49):50743-53. Epub 2004 Sep 17.

Transcript profiling suggests that differential metabolic adaptation of mice to a high fat diet is associated with changes in liver to muscle lipid fluxes.

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Institute of Physiology University of Lausanne, Lausanne CH-1005, Switzerland.


Genetically homogenous C57Bl/6 mice display differential metabolic adaptation when fed a high fat diet for 9 months. Most become obese and diabetic, but a significant fraction remains lean and diabetic or lean and non-diabetic. Here, we performed microarray analysis of "metabolic" transcripts expressed in liver and hindlimb muscles to evaluate: (i) whether expressed transcript patterns could indicate changes in metabolic pathways associated with the different phenotypes, (ii) how these changes differed from the early metabolic adaptation to short term high fat feeding, and (iii) whether gene classifiers could be established that were characteristic of each metabolic phenotype. Our data indicate that obesity/diabetes was associated with preserved hepatic lipogenic gene expression and increased plasma levels of very low density lipoprotein and, in muscle, with an increase in lipoprotein lipase gene expression. This suggests increased muscle fatty acid uptake, which may favor insulin resistance. In contrast, the lean mice showed a strong reduction in the expression of hepatic lipogenic genes, in particular of Scd-1, a gene linked to sensitivity to diet-induced obesity; the lean and non-diabetic mice presented an additional increased expression of eNos in liver. After 1 week of high fat feeding the liver gene expression pattern was distinct from that seen at 9 months in any of the three mouse groups, thus indicating progressive establishment of the different phenotypes. Strikingly, development of the obese phenotype involved re-expression of Scd-1 and other lipogenic genes. Finally, gene classifiers could be established that were characteristic of each metabolic phenotype. Together, these data suggest that epigenetic mechanisms influence gene expression patterns and metabolic fates.

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