Background & aims: To determine if magnesium deficiency aggravates the effects of a high-fat diet in growing rats in terms of obesity, lipid profile and insulin resistance.
Methods: The study population comprised 48 newly weaned male Wistar Hannover rats distributed into four groups according to diet, namely, control group (CT; n = 8), control diet provided ad libitum; pair-feeding control group (PF; n = 16), control diet but in the same controlled amount as animals that received high-fat diets; high-fat diet group (HF; n = 12), and magnesium-deficient high-fat diet group (HFMg(-); n = 12). The parameters investigated were adiposity index, lipid profile, magnesium status, insulin sensitivity and the phosphorylation of proteins involved in the insulin-signaling pathway, i.e. insulin receptor β-subunit, insulin receptor substrate 1 and protein kinase B.
Results: The HF and HFMg(-) groups were similar regarding gain in body mass, adiposity index and lipid profile, but were significantly different from the PF group. The HFMg(-) group exhibited alterations in magnesium homeostasis as revealed by the reduction in urinary and bone concentrations of the mineral. No inter-group differences were observed regarding glucose homeostasis. Protein phosphorylation in the insulin-signaling pathway was significantly reduced in the high-fat groups compared with the control groups, demonstrating that the intake of fat-rich diets increased insulin resistance, a syndrome that was aggravated by magnesium deficiency.
Conclusions: Under the experimental conditions tested, the intake of a magnesium-deficient high-fat diet led to alterations in the insulin-signaling pathway and, consequently, increased insulin resistance.
Keywords: Glucose; Insulin; Lipid enriched diet; Magnesium; Obesity.
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