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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 May;19(5):917-24. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.214. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

Increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in the liver is associated with obesity and insulin resistance.

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Department of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Erratum in

  • Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Nov;19(11):2286.


Obesity is the result of excess energy intake relative to expenditure, however little is known about why some individuals are more prone to weight gain than others. Inbred strains of mice also vary in their susceptibility to obesity and therefore represent a valuable model to study the genetics and physiology of weight gain and its co-morbidities such as type 2 diabetes. C57BL/6J mice are susceptible to obesity and insulin resistance when fed an obesogenic diet, whereas A/J mice are resistant despite increased caloric intake. Analysis of B6- and A/J-derived chromosome substitution strains and congenic strains revealed a complex genetic and physiological basis for this phenotype. To improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying susceptibility to metabolic disease we analyzed global gene expression patterns in 6C1 and 6C2 congenic strains. 6C1 is susceptible whereas 6C2 is resistant to diet-induced obesity. In addition, we demonstrate that 6C1 is glucose intolerant and insulin resistant relative to 6C2. Pathway analysis of global gene expression patterns in muscle, adipose, and liver identified expression level differences between 6C1 and 6C2 in pathways related to basal transcription factors, endocytosis, and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos). The OxPhos expression differences were subtle but evident in each complex of the electron transport chain and were associated with a marked increase in mitochondrial oxidative capacity in the livers of the obese strain 6C1 relative to the obesity-resistant strain 6C2. These data suggests the importance of hepatic mitochondrial function in the development of obesity and insulin resistance.

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