Weight regain after sustained weight reduction is accompanied by suppressed oxidation of dietary fat and adipocyte hyperplasia

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Apr;294(4):R1117-29. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00808.2007. Epub 2008 Feb 20.


A dual-tracer approach (dietary 14C-palmitate and intraperitoneal 3H-H2O) was used to assess the trafficking of dietary fat and net retention of carbon in triglyceride depots during the first 24 h of weight regain. Obesity-prone male Wistar rats were allowed to mature under obesogenic conditions for 16 wk. One group was switched to ad libitum feeding of a low-fat diet for 10 wk (Obese group). The remaining rats were switched to an energy-restricted, low-fat diet for 10 wk that reduced body weight by 14% and were then assessed in energy balance (Reduced group), with free access to the low-fat diet (Relapse-Day1 group), or with a provision that induced a minor imbalance (+10 kcal) equivalent to that observed in obese rats (Gap-Matched group). Fat oxidation remained at a high, steady rate throughout the day in Obese rats, but was suppressed in Reduced, Gap-Matched, and Relapse-Day1 rats though 9, 18, and 24 h, respectively. The same caloric excess in Obese and Gap-Matched rats led to less fat oxidation over the day and greater trafficking of dietary fat to visceral depots in the latter. In addition to trafficking nutrients to storage, Relapse-Day1 rats had more small, presumably new, adipocytes at the end of 24 h. Dietary fat oxidation at 24 h was related to the phosphorylation of skeletal muscle acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid availability. These observations provide evidence of adaptations in the oxidation and trafficking of dietary fat that extend beyond the energy imbalance, which facilitate rapid, efficient regain during the relapse to obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down-Regulation
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Hyperplasia
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / pathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphorylation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recurrence
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Weight Gain*
  • Weight Loss*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Triglycerides
  • Glycogen
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase