Background The obesogenic potential of high-fat diets (HFD) in rodents is attenuated when the protein:carbohydrate ratio is increased. However, it is not known if intake of an HFD irrespective of the protein:carbohydrate ratio and in the absence of weight gain, affects glucose homeostasis and the gut microbiota. Methods We fed C57BL6/J mice 3 different HFDs with decreasing protein:carbohydrate ratios for 8 weeks and compared the results to a LFD reference group. We analyzed the gut microbiota composition by 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing and the intestinal gene expression by real-time PCR. Whole body glucose homeostasis was evaluated by insulin and glucose tolerance tests as well as by a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp experiment. Results Compared with LFD-fed reference mice, HFD-fed mice, irrespective of protein:carbohydrate ratio, exhibited impaired glucose tolerance, whereas no differences were observed during insulin tolerance tests. The hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp revealed tissue-specific effects on glucose homeostasis in all HFD-fed groups. HFD-fed mice exhibited decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in white but not in brown adipose tissue, and sustained endogenous glucose production under insulin-stimulated conditions. We observed no impairment of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscles of different fiber type composition. HFD-feeding altered the gut microbiota composition paralleled by increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and genes involved in gluconeogenesis in intestinal epithelial cells of the jejunum. Conclusions Intake of a HFD profoundly affected glucose homeostasis, gut inflammatory responses, and gut microbiota composition in the absence of fat mass accretion.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)