Mechanisms by which a Very-Low-Calorie Diet Reverses Hyperglycemia in a Rat Model of Type 2 Diabetes

Cell Metab. 2018 Jan 9;27(1):210-217.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.10.004. Epub 2017 Nov 9.


Caloric restriction rapidly reverses type 2 diabetes (T2D), but the mechanism(s) of this reversal are poorly understood. Here we show that 3 days of a very-low-calorie diet (VLCD, one-quarter their typical intake) lowered plasma glucose and insulin concentrations in a rat model of T2D without altering body weight. The lower plasma glucose was associated with a 30% reduction in hepatic glucose production resulting from suppression of both gluconeogenesis from pyruvate carboxylase (VPC), explained by a reduction in hepatic acetyl-CoA content, and net hepatic glycogenolysis. In addition, VLCD resulted in reductions in hepatic triglyceride and diacylglycerol content and PKCɛ translocation, associated with improved hepatic insulin sensitivity. Taken together, these data show that there are pleotropic mechanisms by which VLCD reverses hyperglycemia in a rat model of T2D, including reduced DAG-PKCɛ-induced hepatic insulin resistance, reduced hepatic glycogenolysis, and reduced hepatic acetyl-CoA content, PC flux, and gluconeogenesis.

Keywords: T2D; acetyl-CoA; caloric restriction; gluconeogenesis; glycogenolysis; type 2 diabetes; very low calorie diet; very-low-calorie diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl Coenzyme A / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology*
  • Diet*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fasting
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glycogenolysis
  • Hyperglycemia / pathology*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Acetyl Coenzyme A
  • Glucose