Effect of fish and krill oil supplementation on glucose tolerance in rabbits with experimentally induced obesity

Eur J Nutr. 2015 Oct;54(7):1055-67. doi: 10.1007/s00394-014-0782-0. Epub 2014 Oct 15.


Purpose: This study was conducted to investigate the effect of fish oil (FO) and krill oil (KO) supplementation on glucose tolerance in obese New Zealand white rabbits.

Methods: The experiments were carried out with 24 male rabbits randomly divided into four groups: KO-castrated, treated with KO; FO-castrated, treated with FO; C-castrated, non-treated; NC-non-castrated, non-treated. At the end of treatment period (2 months), an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) was performed in all rabbits.

Results: Fasting blood glucose concentrations in FO and KO animals were significantly lower than in group C. The blood glucose concentrations in FO- and KO-treated animals returned to initial values after 30 and 60 min of IVGTT, respectively. In liver, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (Cpt2) and 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA synthase 2 (Hmgcs2) genes were significantly increased in FO-fed rabbits compared with the C group. Acetyl-CoA carboxylase alpha (Acaca) expression was significantly reduced in both KO- and FO-fed rabbits. In skeletal muscle, Hmgcs2 and Cd36 were significantly higher in KO-fed rabbits compared with the C group. Acaca expression was significantly lower in KO- and FO-fed rabbits compared with the C group.

Conclusion: The present results indicate that FO and KO supplementation decreases fasting blood glucose and improves glucose tolerance in obese New Zealand white rabbits. This could be ascribed to the ameliorated insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion and modified gene expressions of some key enzymes involved in β-oxidation and lipogenesis in liver and skeletal muscle.

Keywords: Fish oil; Gene expression; Glucose tolerance; Krill oil; Lipogenesis; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / genetics
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / genetics
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Euphausiacea
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Fishes
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Synthase / genetics
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Synthase / metabolism
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Rabbits


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fish Oils
  • Insulin
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Synthase
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase