Metabolically Protective Cytokines Adiponectin and Fibroblast Growth Factor-21 Are Increased by Acute Overfeeding in Healthy Humans

Leonie Heilbronn, Lesley V. Campbell, Aimin Xu, Dorit Samocha-Bonet

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Context:Circulating levels of metabolically protective and adverse cytokines are altered in obese humans and rodent models. However, it is not clear whether these cytokines are altered rapidly in response to over-nutrition, or as a later consequence of the obese state.Methods:Forty sedentary healthy individuals were examined prior to and at 3 and 28 days of high fat overfeeding (+1250 kCal/day, 45% fat). Insulin sensitivity (hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp), adiposity, serum levels of adiponectin and fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21), fatty acid binding protein-4 (FABP4), lipocalin-2 and plasminogen activator factor-1 (PAI1) were assessed. Statistics were performed by repeated measures ANOVA.Results:Overfeeding increased weight, body fat and liver fat, fasting glucose, insulin and reduced insulin sensitivity by clamp (all P <0.05). Metabolically protective cytokines, adiponectin and FGF21 were increased at day 3 of overfeeding (P ≤0.001) and adiponectin was also elevated at day 28 (P=0.001). FABP4, lipocalin-2 and PAI-1 were not changed by overfeeding at either time point.Conclusion:Metabolically protective cytokines, adiponectin and FGF-21, were increased by over nutrition and weight gain in healthy humans, despite increases in insulin resistance. We speculate that this was in attempt to maintain glucose homeostasis in a state of nutritional excess. PAI-I, FABP4 and lipocalin 2 were not altered by overfeeding suggesting that changes in these cytokines may be a later consequence of the obese state.Clinical trial registration: (NCT00562393).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere78864
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 18 Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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