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Effect of carbohydrate overfeeding on whole body macronutrient metabolism and expression of lipogenic enzymes in adipose tissue of lean and overweight humans


OBJECTIVE: Lipids stored in adipose tissue can originate from dietary lipids or from de novo lipogenesis (DNL) from carbohydrates. Whether DNL is abnormal in adipose tissue of overweight individuals remains unknown. The present study was undertaken to assess the effect of carbohydrate overfeeding on glucose-induced whole body DNL and adipose tissue lipogenic gene expression in lean and overweight humans.

DESIGN: Prospective, cross-over study.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A total of 11 lean (five male, six female, mean BMI 21.0±0.5 kg/m2) and eight overweight (four males, four females, mean BMI 30.1±0.6 kg/m2) volunteers were studied on two occasions. On one occasion, they received an isoenergetic diet containing 50% carbohydrate for 4 days prior to testing; on the other, they received a hyperenergetic diet (175% energy requirements) containing 71% carbohydrates. After each period of 4 days of controlled diet, they were studied over 6 h after having received 3.25 g glucose/kg fat free mass. Whole body glucose oxidation and net DNL were monitored by means of indirect calorimetry. An adipose tissue biopsy was obtained at the end of this 6-h period and the levels of SREBP-1c, acetyl CoA carboxylase, and fatty acid synthase mRNA were measured by real-time PCR.

RESULTS: After isocaloric feeding, whole body net DNL amounted to 35±9 mg/kg fat free mass/5 h in lean subiects and to 49±3 mg/kg fat free mass/5 h in overweight subjects over the 5 h following glucose ingestion. These figures increased (P<0.001) to 156±21 mg/kg fat free mass/5 h in lean and 64±11 mg/kg fat free mass/5 h (P<0.05 vs lean) in overweight subjects after carbohydrate overfeeding. Whole body DNL after overfeeding was lower (P<0.001) and glycogen synthesis was higher (P<0.001) in overweight than in normal subjects. Adipose tissue SREBP-1c mRNA increased by 25% in overweight and by 43% in lean subjects (P<0.05) after carbohydrate overfeeding, whereas fatty acid synthase mRNA increased by 66 and 84% (P<0.05).

CONCLUSION: Whole body net DNL is not increased during carbohydrate overfeeding in overweight individuals. Stimulation of adipose lipogenic enzymes is also not higher in overweight subjects. Carbohydrate overfeeding does not stimulate whole body net DNL nor expression of lipogenic enzymes in adipose tissue to a larger extent in overweight than lean subjects.

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This work was supported by a grant (# 3200-067787.02) from the Swiss Science Foundation and the Désireé and Niels de Foundation.

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Correspondence to L Tappy.

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Minehira, K., Vega, N., Vidal, H. et al. Effect of carbohydrate overfeeding on whole body macronutrient metabolism and expression of lipogenic enzymes in adipose tissue of lean and overweight humans. Int J Obes 28, 1291–1298 (2004).

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  • glucose oxidation
  • nonoxidative glucose disposal
  • insulin
  • SREBP-1c
  • fatty acid synthase

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