Calorie-restricted weight loss reverses high-fat diet-induced ghrelin resistance, which contributes to rebound weight gain in a ghrelin-dependent manner

Dana Isobel Briggs, Sarah Kathleen Haas Lockie, Qunli Wu, Moyra Belen Lemus, Romana Stark, Zane Bruce Andrews

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Twelve weeks of high-fat diet feeding causes ghrelin resistance in arcuate neuropeptide Y (NPY)/agouti-related protein (AgRP) neurons. In the current study, we investigated whether diet-induced weight loss could restore NPY/AgRP neuronal responsiveness to ghrelin and whether ghrelin mediates rebound weight gain after calorie-restricted (CR) weight loss. Diet-induced obese (DIO) mice were allocated to one of two dietary interventions until they reached the weight of age-matched lean controls. DIO mice received chow diet ad libitum or chow diet with 40 CR. Chow-fed and high-fat-fed mice served as controls. Both dietary interventions normalized body weight, glucose tolerance, and plasma insulin. We show that diet-induced weight loss with CR increases total plasma ghrelin, restores ghrelin sensitivity, and increases hypothalamic NPY and AgRP mRNA expression. We propose that long-term DIO creates a higher body weight set-point and that weight loss induced by CR, as seen in the high-fat CR group, provokes the brain to protect the new higher set-point. This adaptation to weight loss likely contributes to rebound weight gain by increasing peripheral ghrelin concentrations and restoring the function of ghrelin-responsive neuronal populations in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. Indeed, we also show that DIO ghrelin-knockout mice exhibit reduced body weight regain after CR weight loss compared with ghrelin wild-type mice, suggesting ghrelin mediates rebound weight gain after CR weight loss.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709 - 717
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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