Lipid metabolism and body composition inGclm(−/−)mice

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In humans and experimental animals, high fat diets (HFD) are associated with risk factors for metabolic diseases, such as excessive weight gain and adiposity, insulin resistance and fatty liver. Mice lacking the glutamate–cysteine ligase modifier subunit gene (Gclm(−/−)) and deficient in glutathione (GSH), are resistant to HFD-mediated weight gain. Herein, we evaluated Gclm-associated regulation of energy metabolism, oxidative stress, and glucose and lipid homeostasis. C57BL/6J Gclm(−/−) mice and littermate wild-type (WT) controls received a normal diet or an HFD for 11 weeks. HFD-fed Gclm(−/−) mice did not display a decreased respiratory quotient, suggesting that they are unable to process lipid for metabolism. Although dietary energy consumption and intestinal lipid absorption were unchanged in Gclm(−/−) mice, feeding these mice an HFD did not produce excess body weight nor fat storage. Gclm(−/−) mice displayed higher basal metabolic rates resulting from higher activities of liver mitochondrial NADH-CoQ oxidoreductase, thus elevating respiration. Although Gclm(−/−) mice exhibited strong systemic and hepatic oxidative stress responses, HFD did not promote glucose intolerance or insulin resistance. Furthermore, HFD-fed Gclm(−/−) mice did not develop fatty liver, likely resulting from very low expression levels of genes encoding lipid metabolizing enzymes. We conclude that Gclm is involved in the regulation of basal metabolic rate and the metabolism of dietary lipid. Although Gclm(−/−) mice display a strong oxidative stress response, they are protected from HFD-induced excessive weight gain and adipose deposition, insulin resistance and steatosis.

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