Mild calorie restriction induces fat accumulation in female C57BL/6J mice

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Mar;18(3):456-62. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.312. Epub 2009 Oct 1.


This study investigated the effects of mild calorie restriction (CR) (5%) on body weight, body composition, energy expenditure, feeding behavior, and locomotor activity in female C57BL/6J mice. Mice were subjected to a 5% reduction of food intake relative to baseline intake of ad libitum (AL) mice for 3 or 4 weeks. In experiment 1, body weight was monitored weekly and body composition (fat and lean mass) was determined at weeks 0, 2, and 4 by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. In experiment 2, body weight was measured every 3 days and body composition was determined by quantitative magnetic resonance weekly, and energy expenditure, feeding behavior, and locomotor activity were determined over 3 weeks in a metabolic chamber. At the end of both experiments, CR mice had greater fat mass (P < 0.01) and less lean mass (P < 0.01) compared with AL mice. Total energy expenditure (P < 0.05) and resting energy expenditure (P < 0.05) were significantly decreased in CR mice compared with AL mice over 3 weeks. CR mice ate significantly more food than AL mice immediately following daily food provisioning at 1600 hours (P < 0.01). These findings showed that mild CR caused increased fat mass, decreased lean mass and energy expenditure, and altered feeding behavior in female C57BL/6J mice. Locomotor activity or brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenic capacity did not appear to contribute to the decrease in energy expenditure. The increase in fat mass and decrease in lean mass may be a stress response to the uncertainty of food availability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adiposity*
  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Fluid Compartments / metabolism
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Locomotion
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Thermogenesis