The Effects of Equal Caloric High Fat and Western Diet on Metabolic Syndrome, Oxidative Stress and Vascular Endothelial Function in Mice

Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2014 Jul;211(3):515-27. doi: 10.1111/apha.12253. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Aim: Nutrition contributes to increased adiposity, but it remains to be determined whether high fat rather than Western diet exacerbates the development of obesity and other characteristics of metabolic syndrome and vascular function.

Methods: We studied the effects of high fat (45% kcal) diet (HFD) and equal caloric Western diet (WD) high in fat, sucrose and cholesterol for 8 weeks in male C57B1/6N mice.

Results: Mice fed with HFD and WD showed substantially higher body adiposity (body fat %) compared with control mice receiving low fat (10%) diet (LFD). However, total body weight was higher only in HFD mice compared with other groups. The amount of liver triglycerides, cholesterol and oxidative damage was higher in WD mice compared with mice on LFD. There were no significant differences in fasting blood glucose or serum insulin, serum or muscle triglycerides, glucose tolerance or systolic blood pressure between the groups, but serum free fatty acids were increased in HFD mice compared with LFD. Increased levels of tissue and serum diene conjugation as a marker of oxidative stress were evident especially in WD mice. The endothelium-dependent relaxations were significantly impaired in the small mesenteric arteries of HFD mice, but not in the aorta. Maximal relaxations correlated negatively with body adiposity in WD but not in HFD mice.

Conclusions: The major finding in the present study is that without changing body weight, Western diet induces marked whole-body oxidative stress and elevates body adiposity, which associates with the endothelial function of resistance arteries.

Keywords: adiposity; high fat and Western diets; metabolism; oxidative stress; vascular function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Diet, Western*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nutritional Status
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Vasodilation* / drug effects
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology


  • Biomarkers
  • Vasodilator Agents