Increased hepatic fatty acid polyunsaturation precedes ectopic lipid deposition in the liver in adaptation to high-fat diets in mice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE: We monitored hepatic lipid content (HLC) and fatty acid (FA) composition in the context of enhanced lipid handling induced by a metabolic high-fat diet (HFD) challenge and fasting.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mice received a control diet (10% of kilocalories from fat, N = 14) or an HFD (45% or 60% of kilocalories from fat, N = 10 and N = 16, respectively) for 26 weeks. A subset of five mice receiving an HFD (60% of kilocalories from fat) were switched to the control diet for the final 7 weeks. At nine time points, magnetic resonance spectroscopy was performed in vivo at 14.1 T, interleaved with glucose tolerance tests.

RESULTS: Glucose intolerance promptly developed with the HFD, followed by a progressive increase of fasting insulin level, simultaneously with that of HLC. These metabolic defects were normalized by dietary reversal. HFD feeding immediately increased polyunsaturation of hepatic FA, before lipid accumulation. Fasting-induced changes in hepatic lipids (increased HLC and FA polyunsaturation, decreased FA monounsaturation) in control-diet-fed mice were not completely reproduced in HFD-fed mice, not even after dietary reversal.

CONCLUSION: A similar adaptation of hepatic lipids to both fasting and an HFD suggests common mechanisms of lipid trafficking from adipose tissue to the liver. Altered hepatic lipid handling with fasting indicates imperfect metabolic recovery from HFD exposure.


External organisations
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Research areas and keywords


  • Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
JournalMagnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology, and Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2017 Oct 12
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes