12 January - 20 June 2016

Meal times may impact liver fats and metabolism in mice

12 Feb 14

A mouse study published in Cell Metabolism by researchers from Weizmann Institute’s Biological Chemistry Department and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has found that alteration of meal times in mice may affect the level of triglycerides in the liver.  Asher et al. note that circadian rhythms, driven by the body’s internal clock, are involved in biological processes and disruptions could cause imbalances leading to diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease.  To investigate the role of the circadian clock, the scientists analysed and compared liver tissues from either wild-type mice or clock-disrupted mice, which had been either fed only during the night or fed ad libitum.  They found that triglyceride levels in the liver were reduced by 50% in the wild-type mice with mealtimes restricted to night. Night feeding in both the wild-type and clock-disrupted mice shifted the phase of triglyceride accumulation; however whilst the wild-type mice showed gradual accumulation the clock-disrupted mice showed a sharp peak, suggesting that feeding-fasting cycles may also impact triglyceride accumulation. Asher et al note that the details of the mechanism that drives the fluctuating behaviour are yet to be discovered.   They state that results may be significant as abnormal elevated levels of such lipids occur in diseases such as hyperlipidemia and hypertriglyceridemia which can lead to fatty liver and other metabolic diseases.  Asher et al also suggest their findings could impact research in general as results could vary depending on when samples were analysed or when animals were fed. 

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