Factors predicting nongenetic variability in body weight gain induced by a high-fat diet in inbred C57BL/6J mice

Li Na Zhang, David G. Morgan, John C. Clapham, John R. Speakman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Inbred C57BL/6J mice displayed large individual variations in weight gain when fed a high-fat diet (HFD). The objective of this study was to examine whether this predominantly nongenetic variability could be predicted by relevant baseline features and to explore whether variations in these significant features were influenced during pregnancy and/or lactation. Fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM), food intake (FI), resting metabolic rate (RMR), physical activity (PA), and body temperature (T b) were all evaluated at baseline in 60 mice (aged 10-12 weeks) before HFD feeding. Regression analyses showed that baseline FM was a strong positive predictor of weight gain between 4 and 16 weeks of HFD. Baseline PA was negatively associated with weight gain at week 8, 12, and 16, and baseline FFM had a positive effect at week 12 and 16. In a second experiment, 40 female mice were mated and litter sizes (LS) were manipulated on day 3 of lactation. Weaning weight and postweaning growth rate (GR) had positive impacts on FM and FFM at age 9 weeks (FM, P = 0.001; FFM, P< 0.001: n = 97). Lactation LS had a negative effect on weaning weight and a positive effect on postweaning GR. In conclusion, our results show that obesity induced by HFD was associated with a higher baseline FM, a higher baseline FFM and a lower baseline PA level before the exposure of HFD. Two of these traits (FM and FFM) were influenced by lactation LS via weaning weight and postweaning GR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1188
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by a studentship from the University of Aberdeen and AstraZeneca. The authors acknowledge Dr Mitchell and Dr Gamo for their great help with surgeries. The authors also wish to thank Rachel Sinclair for her assistance with animal work and for her comments on the manuscript. The authors are grateful to Dr Wyse for her constructive comments on this manuscript.


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