Purpose: A high-fat diet (HFD) increases the risk of developing many systemic diseases; however, the effects of high fat intake on lacrimal gland functions and the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown. We explored the effects of an HFD on the circadian rhythms of the extraorbital lacrimal glands (ELGs).
Methods: Male C57BL/6J mice maintained on a 12/12-hour light/dark cycle were fed an ad libitum HFD or normal chow (NC) for 2 weeks. The ELGs were collected from euthanized animals every 3 hours throughout the circadian cycle (24 hours). Using high-throughput RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq), we studied the circadian transcriptomic profile of the ELGs. Circadian oscillations in cell size, secretion response, lipid deposition, and immune cell trafficking of the ELGs were also analyzed.
Results: An HFD modulated the circadian transcriptomic profile of the ELGs, including the composition, phase, and amplitude of cyclical transcript oscillations, and affected the associated signaling pathways at spatiotemporal levels. HFD feeding significantly altered the normal rhythmic oscillations of ELG cell size, immune cell trafficking, secretion response, and lipid deposition. After dietary reversal in HFD-fed animals, the activity, core temperature, and lipid accumulation in lacrimal glands recovered partially to the level of NC-fed animals. However, the average cell size of the ELGs, the recruitment of immune cells, and the rhythm of lacrimal secretion did not return to the levels of the NC-fed group.
Conclusions: HFD perturbation interferes with the cyclical transcriptomic profile, cell size, immune cell trafficking, and secretion function of the ELGs with a strikingly high sensitivity.