Visceral fat deposition is attenuated by calanus oil supplementation in rats on a high fat diet

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Introduction: Epidemiological data have shown a clear association between visceral adiposity and insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes, and changes in lifestyle leading to reduced fat mass and/or altered fat distribution have been shown to delay the onset of the disease in individuals at high risk. In this study we examined the effect of calanus oil, which was extracted from the marine zooplankton calanus finmarchicus, on visceral adiposity, blood chemistry, glucose tolerance, and myocardial metabolism in normal rats fed a high fat (HF) diet.Methods: Male Wistar rats were fed either normal chow or HF diet with or without calanus oil (1.5%, w/w) for a total period of 16 weeks. At the end of the feeding period, blood samples were taken and a glucose tolerance test was performed. Finally, the animals were sacrifised and the hearts cannulated for working heart perfusion and determination of myocardial substrate oxidation (using radioactive glucose and palmitate). Perirenal adipose tissue was carefully dissected out and weighed. It is important to note that the contribution of omega-3 fatty acids (FA) from the calanus oil in the present diet was much lower (0.183%, w/w) than that reported in other studies with omega-3 FA supplementations.Results: Rats fed HF diet showed increased body weight and visceral fat mass, as reflected by a significant increase in perirenal fat. They also showed insulin resistance and a shift in myocardial metabolism in favor of FA oxidation. Supplementation of the diet with calanus oil resulted in a significant reduction of perirenal fat, which was associated with a modest attenuation of insulin resistance. The reduction in visceral fat did not, however, influence myocardial substrate oxidation or the mechanical function of the heart.Conclusion: These data show that calanus oil has the capacity to reduce visceral fat and improve glucose homeostasis in obese rats, suggesting that it also may reduce inflammation and disease states associated with obesity. The active component in the calanus oil remains to be determined.

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