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Cells. 2019 Nov 27;8(12). pii: E1529. doi: 10.3390/cells8121529.

Sex Differences in Liver, Adipose Tissue, and Muscle Transcriptional Response to Fasting and Refeeding in Mice.

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The Laboratory of Physiological Genetics, The Institute of Cytology and Genetics, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia.
Department of Physiology, Novosibirsk State University, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia.


Fasting is often used for obesity correction but the "refeeding syndrome" limits its efficiency, and molecular mechanisms underlying metabolic response to different food availability are under investigation. Sex was shown to affect hormonal and metabolic reactions to fasting/refeeding. The aim of this study was to evaluate hormonal and transcriptional responses to fasting and refeeding in male and female C57Bl/6J mice. Sex asymmetry was observed both at the hormonal and transcriptional levels. Fasting (24 h) induced increase in hepatic Fgf21 gene expression, which was associated with elevation of plasma FGF21 and adiponectin levels, and the upregulation of expression of hepatic (Pparα, Cpt1α) and muscle (Cpt1β, Ucp3) genes involved in fatty acid oxidation. These changes were more pronounced in females. Refeeding (6 h) evoked hyperinsulinemia and increased hepatic expression of gene related to lipogenesis (Fasn) only in males and hyperleptinemia and increase in Fgf21 gene expression in muscles and adipose tissues only in females. The results suggest that in mice, one of the molecular mechanisms underlying sex asymmetry in hepatic Pparα, Cpt1α, muscle Cpt1β, and Ucp3 expression during fasting is hepatic Fgf21 expression, and the reason for sex asymmetry in hepatic Fasn expression during refeeding is male-specific hyperinsulinemia.


adipose tissues; fasting refeeding; lipid glucose oxidation; liver; mice; muscle; sex-specific Fgf21 gene expression

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