Chronic administration of iron and copper potentiates adipogenic effect of high fat diet in Wistar rats

Biometals. 2013 Jun;26(3):447-63. doi: 10.1007/s10534-013-9630-6. Epub 2013 May 9.


The primary objective of this research project is explore a possible adipogenic effect of iron and/or copper in albino Wistar rats kept on standard (STD) and high-fat (HFD) diets. The female Wistar rats in the study were divided into eight experimental groups (n = 6). Rats maintained on STD and HFD received 3 mg/l FeSO₄∙7H₂O, 4.88 mg/l CuSO₄ and a combination of 1.5 mg/l FeSO₄∙7H₂O and 2.44 mg/l CuSO₄ with drinking water. Control groups were kept on STD and HFD and received pure water without metal salts. Consumption of iron and copper in the groups of rats maintained on an STD did not produce a significant increase in weight, adipose tissue content or body mass index. However, the adipocyte size and infiltration were increased in the adipose tissue of STD-fed rats receiving a mixture of iron and copper with drinking water. The rats fed iron and copper and, especially, their combination on a HFD background had a significantly higher weight gain, adipose tissue content, morphometric parameters values and adipocyte size compared to STD- and HFD-fed controls. Iron and copper consumption produced their accumulation in the rats' adipose tissue. Moreover, the studied metals reduced adipose tissue concentration of chromium and vanadium. The lipoprotein profile and serum oxidative stress biomarkers were affected in the rats receiving the metals and STD. Hyperglycemia was observed in the rats receiving the studied metals on HFD-background. Based on the analysis of the test subjects, the study suggests that iron and copper administration, especially combined, may potentiate adipogenic effect of HFD.

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Copper / administration & dosage*
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Female
  • Glucose / analysis
  • Iron / administration & dosage*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipoproteins
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Glucose