Vitamin A status affects obesity development and hepatic expression of key genes for fuel metabolism in Zucker fatty rats

Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 Aug;90(4):548-57. doi: 10.1139/o2012-012. Epub 2012 May 3.


We hypothesized that vitamin A (VA) status may affect obesity development. Male Zucker lean (ZL) and fatty (ZF) rats after weaning were fed a synthetic VA deficient (VAD) or VA sufficient (VAS) diet for 8 weeks before their plasma parameters and hepatic genes' expression were analyzed. The body mass (BM) of ZL or ZF rats fed the VAD diet was lower than that of their corresponding controls fed the VAS diet at 5 or 2 weeks, respectively. The VAD ZL and ZF rats had less food intake than the VAS rats after 5 weeks. The VAD ZL and ZF rats had lower plasma glucose, triglyceride, insulin, and leptin levels, as well as lower liver glycogen content, net mass of epididymal fat, and liver/BM and epididymal fat/BM ratios (ZL only) than their respective VAS controls. VAD rats had lower hepatic Cyp26a1, Srebp-1c, Fas, Scd1, Me1, Gck, and Pklr (ZL and ZF); and higher Igfbp1 (ZL and ZF), Pck1(ZF only), and G6pc (ZF only) mRNA levels than their respective VAS controls. We conclude that ZL and ZF rats responded differently to dietary VA deficiency. VA status affected obesity development and altered the expression of hepatic genes for fuel metabolism in ZF rats. The mechanisms will help us to combat metabolic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Vitamin A / metabolism*
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • Vitamin A