Caloric restriction (CR) is one of the most promising strategies for weight loss but is associated with loss of lean mass, whereas compounds such as trans-10,cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (t10-c12 CLA) have been promoted as antiobesity agents. To compare the mechanisms of weight reduction by CR and t10-c12 CLA, body composition, glucose control, and characteristics of adipose tissue with respect to cell turnover (stem cells and preadipocytes, apoptosis and autophagy) and Tbx-1 localization were examined in obese db/db mice and lean C57BL/6J mice undergoing CR or fed CLA isomers (0.4% w/w c9-t11 or t10-c12) for 4 weeks. Our findings show that the t10-c12 CLA reduced whole-body fat mass by decreasing all fat depots (visceral, inguinal, brown/interscapular), while CR lowered both whole-body fat and lean mass in obese mice. t10-c12 CLA elevated blood glucose in both obese and lean mice, while glycemia was not altered by CR. The adipocyte stem cell population remained unchanged; however, t10-c12 CLA reduced and CR elevated the proportion of immature adipocytes in obese mice, suggesting differential effects on adipocyte maturation. t10-c12 CLA reduced apoptosis (activated caspase-3) in both obese and lean mice but did not alter autophagy (LC3II/LC3I). Nuclear Tbx-1, a marker of metabolically active beige adipocytes, was greater in the adipose of t10-c12 CLA-fed animals. Thus, weight loss achieved via t10-c12 CLA primarily involves fat loss and more cells with Tbx-1 localized to the nucleus, while CR operates through a mechanism that reduces both lean and fat mass and blocks adipocyte differentiation.
Keywords: Adipocytes; Caloric restriction; Cell turnover; Conjugated linoleic acid; Weight loss; db/db mice.
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