High-Energy Diet and Shorter Light Exposure Drives Markers of Adipocyte Dysfunction in Visceral and Subcutaneous Adipose Depots of Psammomys obesus

Joanne T M Tan, Victoria A Nankivell, Carmel Bilu, Tomer Shemesh, Stephen J Nicholls, Paul Zimmet, Noga Kronfeld-Schor, Alex Brown, Christina A Bursill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Dysfunctional adipose tissue phenotype underpins type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) development. The disruption of circadian rhythms contributes to T2DM development. We investigated the effects of high-energy diet and photoperiod length on visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue phenotype. Psammomys obesus sand rats exposed to neutral (12 light:12 dark) or short (5 light:19 dark) photoperiod were fed a low- (LE) or high- (HE) energy diet. The HE diet and/or short photoperiod reduced subcutaneous expression of adipocyte differentiation/function markers C/ebpα, Pparδ, Pparγ and Adipoq. Visceral Pparα levels were elevated in the 5:19HE group; however, the HE diet and/or short photoperiod decreased visceral Pparγ and Adipoq expression. 5:19HE animals had elevated Ucp1 yet lower Pgc-1α levels. The HE diet increased visceral Tgf-β1, Ccl2 and Cd68 levels, suggestive of a pro-inflammatory state. Daily visceral rhythms of these genes were affected by a short photoperiod and/or HE diet. The 12:12HE, 5:19LE or 5:19HE animals had a higher proportion of larger adipocytes, indicating increased adipocyte hypertrophy. Collectively, the HE diet and/or shorter light exposure drives a dysfunctional adipose tissue phenotype. Daily rhythms are affected by a short photoperiod and HE diet in a site-specific manner. These findings provide mechanistic insight on the influence of disrupted circadian rhythms and HE diet on adipose tissue phenotype.

JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipocyte Dysfunction
  • Visceral and Subcutaneous Adipose Depots
  • Psammomys obesus
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)
  • photoperiod
  • C/ebpα
  • Pparδ
  • Pparγ
  • Adipoq
  • adipocyte differentiation
  • adipocyte hypertrophy
  • browning
  • circadian rhythms
  • inflammation

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