High-fat diet leads to tissue-specific changes reflecting risk factors for diseases in DBA/2J mice

Physiol Genomics. 2010 Jun;42(1):55-66. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00072.2009. Epub 2010 Mar 9.


The aim of this study was to characterize the responses of individual tissues to high-fat feeding as a function of mass, fat composition, and transcript abundance. We examined a panel of eight tissues [5 white adipose tissues (WAT), brown adipose tissue (BAT), liver, muscle] obtained from DBA/2J mice on either a standard breeding diet (SBD) or a high-fat diet (HFD). HFD led to weight gain, decreased insulin sensitivity, and tissue-specific responses, including inflammation, in these mice. The dietary fatty acids were partially metabolized and converted in both liver and fat tissues. Saturated fatty acids (SFA) were converted in the liver to monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and oleic acid (C18:1) was the preferred MUFA for storage of excess energy in all tissues of HFD-fed mice. Transcriptional changes largely reflected the tissue-specific fat deposition. SFA were negatively correlated with genes in the collagen family and processes involving the extracellular matrix. We propose a novel role of the tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (Tph2) gene in adipose tissues of diet-induced obesity. Tissue-specific responses to HFD were identified. Liver steatosis was evident in HFD-fed mice. Gonadal, retroperitoneal and subcutaneous adipose tissue and BAT exhibited severe inflammatory and immune responses. Mesenteric adipose tissue was the most metabolically active adipose tissue. Gluteal adipose tissue had the highest mass gain but was sluggish in its metabolism. In HFD conditions, BAT functioned largely like WAT in its role as a depot for excess energy, whereas WAT played a role in thermogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Fats / chemistry
  • Fats / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / genetics


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Tph2 protein, mouse
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase