Quantification of total and visceral adipose tissue in fructose-fed rats using water-fat separated single echo MRI

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Sep;21(9):E388-95. doi: 10.1002/oby.20229. Epub 2013 May 21.


Objective: The aim of this study was to setup a rodent model for modest weight gain and an MRI-based quantification of body composition on a clinical 1.5 T MRI system for studies of obesity and environmental factors and their possible association.

Design and methods: Twenty-four 4-week-old female Fischer rats were divided into two groups: one exposed group (n = 12) and one control group (n = 12). The exposed group was given drinking water containing fructose (5% for 7 weeks, then 20% for 3 weeks). The control group was given tap water. Before sacrifice, whole body MRI was performed to determine volumes of total and visceral adipose tissue and lean tissue. MRI was performed using a clinical 1.5 T system and a chemical shift based technique for separation of water and fat signal from a rapid single echo acquisition. Fat signal fraction was used to separate adipose and lean tissue. Visceral adipose tissue volume was quantified using semiautomated segmentation. After sacrifice, a perirenal fat pad and the liver were dissected and weighed. Plasma proteins were analyzed by Western blot.

Results: The weight gain was 5.2% greater in rats exposed to fructose than in controls (P = 0.042). Total and visceral adipose tissue volumes were 5.2 cm3 (P = 0.017) and 3.1 cm3 (P = 0.019) greater, respectively, while lean tissue volumes did not differ. The level of triglycerides and apolipoprotein A-I was higher (P = 0.034, P = 0.005, respectively) in fructose-exposed rats.

Conclusions: The setup induced and assessed a modest visceral obesity and hypertriglyceridemia, making it suitable for further studies of a possible association between environmental factors and obesity.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Body Composition* / drug effects
  • Body Fluid Compartments / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Fructose / adverse effects*
  • Hypertriglyceridemia* / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia* / chemically induced
  • Hypertriglyceridemia* / metabolism
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat* / drug effects
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat* / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Obesity, Abdominal* / blood
  • Obesity, Abdominal* / chemically induced
  • Obesity, Abdominal* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Weight Gain* / drug effects


  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Triglycerides
  • Fructose