Glucocorticoid treatment facilitates development of a metabolic syndrome in ovariectomized Macaca Mulatta fed a high fat diet

Linzhao Li, Guang Yang, Guangneng Liao, Jie Mei, Lan Li, Chengshi Wang, Yujia Yuan, Yujun Shi, Jingping Liu, Zhihui Zhong, Jingqiu Cheng, Yanrong Lu, Iain J. Clarke, Younan Chen

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Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is characterized by a cluster of key features, which include abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of elevated glucocorticoid levels on the development of MetS in middle-aged female rhesus monkeys (Macaca Mulatta) after ovariectomy. Six female ovariectomized rhesus monkeys (9–13 years) were randomly assigned to either a control group (normal diet, n = 3) or a group in which MetS was facilitated (n = 3). The MetS group fed with HFD (15% fat) and received oral prednisone acetate treatment (50 mg/day). After 24 months, the GCs treatment was withdrawn with continuation of high-fat feeding for a further 12 months. After 24 months, the MetS group displayed a significant increase in body weight and abdominal circumference. Additionally, the MetS animals displayed abnormal serum lipids, insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. Histology of liver biopsies indicated marked accumulation of lipid droplets in hepatocytes of MetS animals. Withdrawal of GCs treatment led to recovery from above-mentioned metabolic disorders. Whereas GCs treatment increased leptin expression, it lowered expression of adiponectin and other factors in adipose tissue. Expression of Hydroxy-steroid dehydrogenase-1 and glucose transporter type-4 in the livers of MetS animals were reduced. We conclude that in the context of high fat diet, high levels of exogenous GCs contribute to the development of MetS in non-human primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Glucocorticoids
  • High-fat diet
  • Leptin
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Rhesus monkey

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