Time-restricted feeding of a high-fat diet in male C57BL/6 mice reduces adiposity but does not protect against increased systemic inflammation

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2018 Oct;43(10):1033-1042. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2017-0706. Epub 2018 May 2.


Time-restricted feeding (TRF) limits the duration of food availability without altering diet composition and can combat obesity in humans and mice. For this study we evaluated the effect of timing of food access during a TRF protocol on weight gain, adiposity, and inflammation. Young male C57BL/6 mice were placed on a high-fat (HF) diet (45% fat) for 8 weeks. Food access was unrestricted (HF) or restricted to 6 h per day, either for the first half (HF-early) or the second half (HF-late) of the active phase to resemble a window of time for food consumption early or late in the day in a human population. Weight, obesity-associated parameters, and inflammation were measured. TRF reduced weight gain over the 8-week period in mice consuming the same high-fat diet. Consistent with decreased weight gain in the TRF groups, body fat percentage, liver triglycerides, and plasma leptin and cholesterol levels were reduced. Adipose tissue inflammation, measured by CD11b+F4/80+ macrophage infiltration, was reduced in both TRF groups, but systemic tumor necrosis factor-α was increased in all groups consuming the high-fat diet. The HF-late group gained more weight than the HF-early group and had increased insulin resistance, while the HF-early group was protected. Therefore, a TRF protocol is beneficial for weight management when a high-fat diet is consumed, with food consumption earlier in the day showing greater health benefits. However, increased inflammatory markers in the TRF groups suggest that diet components can still increase inflammation even in the absence of overt obesity.

Keywords: circadian rhythm; inflammation; intermittent fasting; jeûne intermittent; obesity; obésité; restriction de la période d’alimentation; rythme circadien; time-restricted feeding.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / physiopathology*
  • Adiposity*
  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fasting* / blood
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Weight Gain


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipids
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha