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Open Access Meal-Feeding Studies in Mice: Effects of Diet on Blood Lipids and Energy Expenditure

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To identify optimal study-design conditions to investigate lipid metabolism, male, C57BL/6J mice (age, 59 ± 3 days) were allotted to eight groups, with six animals per group that were stratified by three factors: diet type (high fat [HF]: 60% of energy from fat versus that of a standard rodent diet, 14% fat, fed for 7 weeks), feeding regimen (ad libitum [ad lib] versus meal fed), and metabolic state (data collected in fasted or fed states). Serum free fatty acids (FFA) and triacylglycerols (TAG) concentrations, and energy expenditure (EE) were assessed. Mice gained 0.30 ± 0.11 g of body weight/day when allowed ad lib access to HF diet, similar weight when meal-fed the HF or ad lib-fed the standard diet (0.10 ± 0.03 g/day), and no weight when meal-fed the standard diet (0.01 ± 0.02 g/day). Fed-state TAG concentration was 88 to 100% higher (P < 0.02) than that of the fasted state, except when animals were ad lib-fed the HF diet. When the standard diet was meal fed, FFA concentration was 30% higher in the fasted compared with the fed state (P = 0.003). Mice had 33% higher postprandial EE when either diet was meal fed (P = 0.01). Mice adapted to meal feeding developed transitions in metabolism consistent with known physiologic changes that occur from fasting to feeding. When fed the standard diet, a 6-h per day meal-feeding regimen was restrictive for normal growth. These data support use of a meal-feeding regimen when HF diets are used and research is focused on metabolic differences between fasted and fed states. This protocol allows study of the metabolic effects of an HF diet without the confounding effects of over-consumption of food and excess body weight gain.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, 1334 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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