Reversal of diet-induced obesity and diabetes in C57BL/6J mice

Metabolism. 1998 Sep;47(9):1089-96. doi: 10.1016/s0026-0495(98)90283-9.


We have previously shown that C57BL/6J (B6) mice develop severe obesity and diabetes if weaned onto high-fat diets, whereas A/J mice tend to be obesity and diabetes-resistant. The purpose of this study was to determine if obesity and diabetes in the B6 mouse could be completely reversed by reducing dietary fat content. After 4 months, both strains consumed more calories on a high-fat diet than on a low-fat diet, and both strains showed a higher feed efficiency (FE=weight gained/calories consumed) on the high-fat diet versus the low-fat diet. However, relative to A/J mice, B6 mice demonstrated a significantly higher FE on the high-fat diet. Hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and increased adiposity were apparent in B6 mice after 4 months on the high-fat diet regardless of whether the diet was begun at weaning or 4 months later. Correlational analyses showed that adiposity was strongly related to both insulin and glucose levels in B6 mice, but only moderately related to insulin levels in A/J mice. In obese B6 mice that were switched to a low-fat diet, obesity and diabetes were completely reversed. Adiposity, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin values in these mice were equivalent to those in B6 mice of the same age that had spent 8 months on the low-fat diet. In summary, our data show that in the B6 mouse the severity of diabetes is a direct function of obesity and diabetes is completely reversible by reducing dietary fat.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / diet therapy*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Species Specificity


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fats
  • Insulin