Abdominal obesity in BTBR male mice is associated with peripheral but not hepatic insulin resistance

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Mar;292(3):E936-45. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00370.2006. Epub 2006 Nov 28.


Insulin resistance is a common feature of obesity. BTBR mice have more fat mass than most other inbred mouse strains. On a chow diet, BTBR mice have elevated insulin levels relative to the C57BL/6J (B6) strain. Male F1 progeny of a B6 x BTBR cross are insulin resistant. Previously, we reported insulin resistance in isolated muscle and in isolated adipocytes in this strain. Whereas the muscle insulin resistance was observed only in male F1 mice, adipocyte insulin resistance was also present in male BTBR mice. We examined in vivo mechanisms of insulin resistance with the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp technique. At 10 wk of age, BTBR and F1 mice had a >30% reduction in whole body glucose disposal primarily due to insulin resistance in heart, soleus muscle, and adipose tissue. The increased adipose tissue mass and decreased muscle mass in BTBR and F1 mice were negatively and positively correlated with whole body glucose disposal, respectively. Genes involved in focal adhesion, actin cytoskeleton, and inflammation were more highly expressed in BTBR and F1 than in B6 adipose tissue. The BTBR and F1 mice have higher levels of testosterone, which may be related to the pathological changes in adipose tissue that lead to systemic insulin resistance. Despite profound peripheral insulin resistance, BTBR and F1 mice retained hepatic insulin sensitivity. These studies reveal a genetic difference in body composition that correlates with large differences in peripheral insulin sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / metabolism*


  • Insulin
  • Glucose