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Developmental Timing of High Fat Diet Exposure Impacts Glucose Homeostasis in Mice in a Sex-Specific Manner

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posted on 20.09.2021, 16:58 by Maria M. Glavas, Ann Y. Lee, Ian Miao, Fan Yang, Majid Mojibian, Shannon M. O’Dwyer, Timothy J. Kieffer
We previously demonstrated that male, but not female, Swiss Webster mice are susceptible to diabetes, with incidence increased by early overnutrition and high-fat diet (HFD). Here, we investigated how HFD in Swiss Webster males and females during preweaning, peripubertal, and post-pubertal periods alters glucose homeostasis and diabetes susceptibility. In males, HFD throughout life resulted in the highest diabetes incidence. Notably, switching to chow post-puberty was protective against diabetes relative to switching to chow at weaning, despite the longer period of HFD exposure. Similarly, HFD throughout life in males resulted in less liver steatosis relative to mice with shorter duration of postpubertal HFD. Thus, HFD timing relative to weaning and puberty, not simply exposure length, contributes to metabolic outcomes. Females were protected from hyperglycemia regardless of length or timing of HFD. However, postpubertal HFD resulted in a high degree of hepatic steatosis and adipose fibrosis, but glucose regulation and insulin sensitivity remained unchanged Interestingly, peri-insulitis was observed in the majority of females but was not correlated with impaired glucose regulation. Our findings reveal critical periods of HFD-induced glucose dysregulation with striking sex differences in Swiss Webster mice, highlighting the importance of careful consideration of HFD timing relative to critical developmental periods.


This work was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.