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Genes Nutr. 2013 Sep;8(5):457-63. doi: 10.1007/s12263-013-0333-y. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

Timed high-fat diet in the evening affects the hepatic circadian clock and PPARα-mediated lipogenic gene expressions in mice.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Soochow University, Suzhou, 215123, Jiangsu Province, China.


A long-term high-fat diet may result in a fatty liver. However, whether or not high-fat diets affect the hepatic circadian clock is controversial. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of timed high-fat diet on the hepatic circadian clock and clock-controlled peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α-mediated lipogenic gene expressions. Mice were orally administered high-fat milk in the evening for 4 weeks. The results showed that some hepatic clock genes, such as Clock, brain-muscle-Arnt-like 1 (Bmal1), Period 2 (Per2), and Cryptochrome 2 (Cry2) exhibited obvious changes in rhythms and/or amplitudes. Alterations in the expression of clock genes, in turn, further altered the circadian rhythm of PPARα expression. Among the PPARα target genes, cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, low-density lipoprotein receptor, lipoprotein lipase, and diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) showed marked changes in rhythms and/or amplitudes. In particular, significant changes in the expressions of DGAT and CYP7A1 were observed. The effects of a high-fat diet on the expression of lipogenic genes in the liver were accompanied by increased hepatic cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These results suggest that timed high-fat diets at night could change the hepatic circadian expressions of clock genes Clock, Bmal1, Per2, and Cry2 and subsequently alter the circadian expression of PPARα-mediated lipogenic genes, resulting in hepatic lipid accumulation.

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