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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Sep;16(9):2053-67. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.337.

Beta-aminoisobutyric acid prevents diet-induced obesity in mice with partial leptin deficiency.

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INSERM, U773, Centre de Recherche Biomédicale Bichat Beaujon CRB3, Paris, France.


Beta-Aminoisobutyric acid (BAIBA), a thymine catabolite, increases fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in liver and reduces the gain of body fat mass in Swiss (lean) mice fed a standard chow. We determined whether BAIBA could prevent obesity and related metabolic disorders in different murine models. To this end, BAIBA (100 or 500 mg/kg/day) was administered for 4 months in mice totally deficient in leptin (ob/ob). BAIBA (100 mg/kg/day) was also given for 4 months in wild-type (+/+) mice and mice partially deficient in leptin (ob/+) fed a high-calorie (HC) diet. BAIBA did not limit obesity and hepatic steatosis in ob/ob mice, but reduced liver cytolysis and inflammation. In ob/+ mice fed the HC diet, BAIBA fully prevented, or limited, the gain of body fat, steatosis and necroinflammation, glucose intolerance, and hypertriglyceridemia. Plasma beta-hydroxybutyrate was increased, whereas expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 was augmented in liver and white adipose tissue. Acetyl-CoA carboxylase was more phosphorylated, and de novo lipogenesis was less induced in liver. These favorable effects of BAIBA in ob/+ mice were associated with a restoration of plasma leptin levels. The reduction of body adiposity afforded by BAIBA was less marked in +/+ mice. Finally, BAIBA significantly stimulated the secretion of leptin in isolated ob/+ adipose cells, but not in +/+ cells. Thus, BAIBA could limit triglyceride accretion in tissues through a leptin-dependent stimulation of FAO. As partial leptin deficiency is not uncommon in the general population, supplementation with BAIBA may help to prevent diet-induced obesity and related metabolic disorders in low leptin secretors.

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