Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate the in vivo effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) on inflammation and insulin resistance as well as the underlying potential molecular mechanisms in high fat diet-induced obese mice.
Methods: Male C57BL/6J mice (n = 24) were fed one of the following three diets for a period of 12 weeks: (1) a modified AIN-76 diet with 5 % corn oil (normal diet); (2) a high-fat control diet (17 % w/w lard and 3 % w/w corn oil, HFC); (3) an isocaloric high-fat diet supplemented with MCT (17 % w/w MCT and 3 % w/w corn oil, HF-MCT). Glucose metabolism was evaluated by fasting blood glucose levels and intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test. Insulin sensitivity was evaluated by fasting serum insulin levels and the index of homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance. The levels of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-10 (IL-10), and tumor necrosis factor-α were measured by ELISA, and hepatic activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways was determined using western blot analysis.
Results: Compared to HFC diet, consumption of HF-MCT did not induce body weight gain and white adipose tissue accumulation in mice. HFC-induced increases in serum fasting glucose and insulin levels as well as glucose intolerance were prevented by HF-MCT diet. Meanwhile, HF-MCT resulted in significantly lower serum IL-6 level and higher IL-10 level, and lower expression levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 protein in liver tissues when compared to HFC. In addition, HF-MCT attenuated HFC-triggered hepatic activation of NF-κB and p38 MAPK.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that MCT was efficacious in suppressing body fat accumulation, insulin resistance, inflammatory response, and NF-κB and p38 MAPK activation in high fat diet-fed mice. These data suggest that MCT may exert beneficial effects against high fat diet-induced insulin resistance and inflammation.
Keywords: Inflammation; Insulin resistance; Medium-chain triglyceride; NF-κB; p38 MAPK.