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Nutr Diabetes. 2011 Jul 11;1:e11. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2011.7.

Differential effects of saturated versus unsaturated dietary fatty acids on weight gain and myocellular lipid profiles in mice.

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1] Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN), Wageningen, The Netherlands [2] Department of Human Biology, School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism (NUTRIM), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



In conditions of continuous high-fat (HF) intake, the degree of saturation of the fatty acids (FAs) in the diet might have a crucial role in the onset of obesity and its metabolic complications. In particular, the FA composition of the diet might influence the storage form of lipids inside skeletal muscle. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the FA composition of HF diets differentially affects weight gain and accumulation of myocellular triacylglycerol (TAG) and diacylglycerol (DAG). Furthermore, we examined whether the FA composition of the diet was reflected in the composition of the myocellular lipid intermediates.


C57Bl6 mice were fed HF diets (45% energy) mainly containing palm oil (PO), cocoa butter (CB), olive oil (OO) or safflower oil (SO; n=6 per group) for 8 weeks. A low-fat diet (10% energy, PO) was used as control. Body weight was monitored weekly. At the end of the dietary intervention, myocellular TAG and DAG content and profiles were measured.


We here show that HF_CB prevented weight gain after 8 weeks of HF feeding. Furthermore, the HF diet rich in SO prevented the accumulation of both myocellular TAG and DAG. Interestingly, the FA composition of DAG and TAG in skeletal muscle was a reflection of the dietary FA composition.


Already after a relatively short period, the dietary FA intake relates to the FA composition of the lipid metabolites in the muscle. A diet rich in polyunsaturated FAs seems to prevent myocellular lipid accumulation.

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