A Direct Comparison of Metabolic Responses to High-Fat Diet in C57BL/6J and C57BL/6NJ Mice

Diabetes. 2016 Nov;65(11):3249-3261. doi: 10.2337/db16-0291. Epub 2016 Aug 5.


Although nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (NNT)-deficient C57BL/6J (6J) mice are known to be highly susceptible to diet-induced metabolic disease, this notion stems primarily from comparisons of 6J mice to other inbred strains. To date, very few studies have directly compared metabolic disease susceptibility between NNT-deficient 6J mice and NNT-competent C57BL/6 substrains. In this study, comprehensive profiling of the metabolic response to a high-fat/high-sucrose diet (HFD) were compared across time in 6J and C57BL/6NJ (6N) mice. Given that increased peroxide exposure drives insulin resistance, coupled with the fact that NNT regulates peroxide detoxification, it was hypothesized that 6J mice would experience greater derangements in redox homeostasis/metabolic disease upon HFD exposure. Contrary to this, both lines were found to be highly susceptible to diet-induced metabolic disease, as evidenced by impairments in glucose tolerance as early as 24 h into the HFD. Moreover, various markers of the metabolic syndrome, as well as peroxide stress, were actually blunted, rather than exacerbated, in the 6J mice, likely reflecting compensatory increases in alterative redox-buffering pathways. Together, these data provide evidence that the susceptibility to HFD-induced metabolic disease is similar in the 6J and 6N substrains. Given the numerous genetic variances in the 6J stain, including loss of NNT function, these findings suggest that the 6N substrain is the more logical and representative genetic background model for metabolic studies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / metabolism


  • Deoxyglucose
  • Hydrogen Peroxide