Obesity is characterized by a dysregulated immune system, which may causally associate with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Despite widespread use of nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, NOD with severe combined immunodeficiency (scid) mutation (SCID) mice, and SCID bearing a null mutation in the IL-2 common γ chain receptor (NSG) mice as animal models of human diseases including type 1 diabetes, the underlying metabolic effects of a genetically altered immune system are poorly understood. For this, we performed a comprehensive metabolic characterization of these mice fed chow or after 6 wk of a high-fat diet. We found that NOD mice had ∼50% less fat mass and were 2-fold more insulin sensitive, as measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, than C57BL/6 wild-type mice. SCID mice were also more insulin sensitive with increased muscle glucose metabolism and resistant to diet-induced obesity due to increased energy expenditure (∼10%) and physical activity (∼40%) as measured by metabolic cages. NSG mice were completely protected from diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance with significant increases in glucose metabolism in peripheral organs. Our findings demonstrate an important role of genetic background, lymphocytes, and cytokine signaling in diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance.
Keywords: diabetes mouse models; energy balance; glucose metabolism.