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J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2009;2(6):280-91. doi: 10.1159/000308466. Epub 2010 Jun 28.

An 8-week high-fat diet induces obesity and insulin resistance with small changes in the muscle transcriptome of C57BL/6J mice.

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Nutrigenomics Consortium, Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.



Skeletal muscle is responsible for most of the insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and metabolism. Therefore, it plays an important role in the development of insulin resistance, one of the characteristics of the metabolic syndrome (MS). As the prevalence of the MS is increasing, there is an urgent need for more effective intervention strategies.


C57BL/6J mice were fed an 8-week low-fat diet (10 kcal%; LFD) or high-fat diet (45 kcal%; HFD). Microarray analysis was performed by using two comparisons: (1) 8-week HFD transcriptome versus 8-week LFD transcriptome and (2) transcriptome of mice sacrificed at the start of the intervention versus 8-week LFD transcriptome and 8-week HFD transcriptome, respectively.


Although an 8-week HFD induced obesity and impaired insulin sensitivity, HFD-responsive changes in the muscle transcriptome were relatively small (<1.3-fold). In fact, 8-weeks of aging induced more pronounced changes than an HFD. One comparison revealed the transcriptional downregulation of the mito- gen-activated protein kinase cascade, whereas both comparisons showed the upregulation of fatty acid oxidation, demonstrating that the two comparison strategies are confirmative as well as complementary.


We suggest using complementary analysis strategies in the genome-wide search for gene expression changes induced by mild interventions, such as an HFD.

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