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 journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6291
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019


  • Adipocyte differentiation
  • Adipocyte hypertrophy
  • Browning
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Inflammation
  • Photoperiod

Cite this