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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Complex changes in gene expression are associated with insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) promoted by feeding a high-fat diet (HFD). We used functional genomic technologies to document molecular mechanisms associated with diet-induced NAFLD. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Male 129S6 mice were fed a diet containing 40% fat (high-fat diet, HFD) for 15 weeks. Glucose tolerance, in vivo insulin secretion, plasma lipid profile and adiposity were determined. Plasma metabonomics and liver transcriptomics were used to identify changes in gene expression associated with HFD-induced NAFLD. RESULTS: In HFD-fed mice, NAFLD and impaired glucose and lipid homeostasis were associated with increased hepatic transcription of genes involved in fatty acid uptake, intracellular transport, modification and elongation, whilst genes involved in beta-oxidation and lipoprotein secretion were, paradoxically, also upregulated. NAFLD developed despite strong and sustained downregulation of transcription of the gene encoding stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (Scd1) and uncoordinated regulation of transcription of Scd1 and the gene encoding sterol regulatory element binding factor 1c (Srebf1c) transcription. Inflammatory mechanisms appeared to be stimulated by HFD. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Our results provide an accurate representation of subtle changes in metabolic and gene expression regulation underlying disease-promoting and compensatory mechanisms, collectively contributing to diet-induced insulin resistance and NAFLD. They suggest that proposed models of NAFLD pathogenesis can be enriched with novel diet-reactive genes and disease mechanisms.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1867 - 1879


Animal Feed, Animals, Diet, Dietary Fats, Fatty Liver, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Glucose Tolerance Test, Insulin, Insulin Resistance, Insulin Secretion, Kinetics, Lipids, Liver, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred Strains, Transcription, Genetic