Intermittent fasting increases energy expenditure and promotes adipose tissue browning in mice

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Objective: Intermittent fasting (IF) may limit metabolic adaptations that reduce energy expenditure, potentially by stimulating white adipose tissue (WAT) browning. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of 8 wk of IF on energy metabolism and markers of WAT browning in lean and diet-induced obese mice and in women who were overweight or obese. Methods: Male C57 BL/6 J mice were fed chow or a high-fat diet (HFD; 43%) for 8 wk before undergoing IF (3 non-consecutive d/wk) for an additional 8 wk. Food intake, energy expenditure, and inguinal and gonadal fat pads were collected in fed or fasted conditions (22 h, IF mice only). Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) was also collected at baseline, and after 8 wk of IF (in the fed state, and after a 24-h fast), in women with overweight or obesity. Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) was assessed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (mice and humans) and immunohistochemistry (mice). Results: IF reduced body weight and energy intake in HFD fed mice and reduced gonadal and inguinal fat pad weights in both diet groups. IF increased energy expenditure, meal number, Ucp1 mRNA levels in inguinal and gonadal fat depots, and UCP1 protein in inguinal fat in both diet groups on fed days. In women, IF reduced body weight and fat mass, but did not alter UCP1mRNA levels. Conclusions: IF increased energy expenditure and promoted WAT browning in mice but did not alter UCP1 mRNA levels in SAT in women.

Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Adipose tissue browning
  • Body weight
  • Energy expenditure
  • Fat mass
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Uncoupling protein 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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