Effect of high-fat diet on peripheral blood mononuclear cells and adipose tissue in early stages of diet-induced weight gain

Br J Nutr. 2019 Dec 28;122(12):1359-1367. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519002472.


Subcutaneous adipose tissue (scAT) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) play a significant role in obesity-associated systemic low-grade inflammation. High-fat diet (HFD) is known to induce inflammatory changes in both scAT and PBMC. However, the time course of the effect of HFD on these systems is still unknown. The aim of the present study was to determine the time course of the effect of HFD on PBMC and scAT. New Zealand white rabbits were fed HFD for 5 or 10 weeks (i.e. HFD-5 and HFD-10) or regular chow (i.e. control (CNT)-5 and CNT-10). Thereafter, metabolic and inflammatory parameters of PBMC and scAT were quantified. HFD induced hyperfattyacidaemia in HFD-5 and HFD-10 groups, with the development of insulin resistance in HFD-10, while no changes were observed in scAT lipid metabolism and inflammatory status. HFD activated the inflammatory pathways in PBMC of HFD-5 group and induced modified autophagy in that of HFD-10. The rate of fat oxidation in PBMC was directly associated with the expression of inflammatory markers and tended to inversely associate with autophagosome formation markers in PBMC. HFD affected systemic substrate metabolism, and the metabolic, inflammatory and autophagy pathways in PBMC in the absence of metabolic and inflammatory changes in scAT. Dietary approaches or interventions to avert HFD-induced changes in PBMC could be essential to prevent metabolic and inflammatory complications of obesity and promote healthier living.

Keywords: Autophagy; Low-grade inflammation; Obesogenic diet; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Subcutaneous adipose tissue; Weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives
  • Carnitine / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Homeostasis
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Rabbits
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism*
  • Weight Gain*


  • Insulin
  • acylcarnitine
  • Carnitine