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FASEB J. 2010 Dec;24(12):4948-59. doi: 10.1096/fj.10-164921. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Germ-free C57BL/6J mice are resistant to high-fat-diet-induced insulin resistance and have altered cholesterol metabolism.

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Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, UMR1319 Micalis, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Recent studies showed that germ-free (GF) mice are resistant to obesity when consuming a high-fat, high-carbohydrate Western diet. However, it remains unclear what mechanisms are involved in the antiobesity phenotype and whether GF mice develop insulin resistance and dyslipidemia with high-fat (HF) feeding. In the present study, we compared the metabolic consequences of HF feeding on GF and conventional (conv) C57BL/6J mice. GF mice consumed fewer calories, excreted more fecal lipids, and weighed significantly less than conv mice. GF/HF animals also showed enhanced insulin sensitivity with improved glucose tolerance, reduced fasting and nonfasting insulinemia, and increased phospho-Akt((Ser-473)) in adipose tissue. In association with enhanced insulin sensitivity, GF/HF mice had reduced plasma TNF-α and total serum amyloid A concentrations. Reduced hypercholesterolemia, a moderate accretion of hepatic cholesterol, and an increase in fecal cholesterol excretion suggest an altered cholesterol metabolism in GF/HF mice. Pronounced nucleus SREBP2 proteins and up-regulation of cholesterol biosynthesis genes indicate that enhanced cholesterol biosynthesis contributed to the cholesterol homeostasis in GF/HF mice. Our results demonstrate that fewer calorie consumption and increased lipid excretion contributed to the obesity-resistant phenotype of GF/HF mice and reveal that insulin sensitivity and cholesterol metabolism are metabolic targets influenced by the gut microbiota.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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