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PPAR Res. 2018 Mar 20;2018:4827643. doi: 10.1155/2018/4827643. eCollection 2018.

Treatment of Diabetic Mice with a Combination of Ketogenic Diet and Aerobic Exercise via Modulations of PPARs Gene Programs.

Zhang Q1,2, Xu L3, Xia J1,2, Wang D3, Qian M3, Ding S1,2.

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Key Laboratory of Adolescent Health Assessment and Exercise Intervention, Ministry of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China.
School of Physical Education & Health Care, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China.
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Regulatory Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences and School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


Type 2 diabetes is a prevalent chronic disease arising as a serious public health problem worldwide. Diet intervention is considered to be a critical strategy in glycemic control of diabetic patients. Recently, the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet is shown to be effective in glycemic control and weight loss. However, hepatic lipid accumulation could be observed in mice treated with ketogenic diet. On the other hand, exercise is a well-known approach for treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. We thus hypothesize that the combination of ketogenic diet and exercise could improve insulin sensitivity, while minimizing adverse effect of hepatic steatosis. In order to test this hypothesis, we established diabetic mice model with streptozotocin (STZ) and divided them into control group, ketogenic diet group, and ketogenic diet with aerobic exercise group. We found that after six weeks of intervention, mice treated with ketogenic diet and ketogenic diet combined with exercise both have lower body weights, HbAlc level, HOMA index, and improvements in insulin sensitivity, compared with diabetes group. In addition, mice in ketogenic diet intervention exhibited hepatic steatosis shown by serum and hepatic parameters, as well as histochemistry staining in the liver, which could be largely relieved by exercise. Furthermore, gene analysis revealed that ketogenic diet in combination with exercise reduced PPARγ and lipid synthetic genes, as well as enhancing PPARα and lipid β-oxidation gene program in the liver compared to those in ketogenic diet without exercise. Overall, the present study demonstrated that the combination of ketogenic diet and a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise intervention improved insulin sensitivity in diabetic mice, while avoiding hepatic steatosis, which provided a novel strategy in the combat of diabetes.

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