Fat-enriched rather than high-fructose diets promote whitening of adipose tissue in a sex-dependent manner

J Nutr Biochem. 2017 Nov;49:22-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.07.009. Epub 2017 Jul 24.


Adipose tissue is a critical regulator of energy metabolism and an effector organ of excessive caloric intake. We studied the effects of high-fructose (HFruD), high-fat (HFD) and mixed high-sucrose and high-fat diet (HFHSD) on adipocyte morphology and biology and consecutive metabolic effects in male and female C57BL/6 mice. Forty male and 40 female mice were randomly assigned to one of four dietary groups and fed for 10 weeks ad libitum. After 10 weeks of feeding, mice were analyzed in regard to glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity and alteration in adipocyte morphology and function. Weight gain and diminished insulin sensitivity in HFD- and HFHSD-fed mice were accompanied by increased adipocyte size and a shift in size distribution towards larger adipocytes in all mice. The latter effect was also found but less pronounced in HFruD-fed mice, while insulin sensitivity and body weight remained unaffected. In male mice, expansion of white adipocytes along with decreased uncoupling protein 1 (UCP-1) expression and alterations of mitochondrial biogenesis was found after HFD and HFHSD feeding, while in female mice, UCP-1 expression was also reduced in the HFruD dietary group. Diet-induced cellular alterations were less pronounced in female mice. Our data demonstrate that high-fat rather than high fructose consumption drives metabolically disadvantageous alterations of adipocyte differentiation involving whitening and insulin resistance in a sex-dependent manner with most deleterious effects seen upon administration of combined sucrose and fat-enriched diet in male mice.

Keywords: Adipocyte; Fructose; High fat; Insulin resistance; Lipid droplet; Mitochondrion; Sex difference.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis*
  • Adipose Tissue, Beige / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Beige / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White / pathology*
  • Adiposity*
  • Animals
  • Cell Size
  • Diet, Carbohydrate Loading / adverse effects
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Diet, Western / adverse effects
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Random Allocation
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / genetics
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Ucp1 protein, mouse
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • Fructose