Cafeteria diet-induced obesity causes oxidative damage in white adipose

Amy R. Johnson, Matthew D. Wilkerson, Brante P. Sampey, Melissa A. Troester, D. Neil Hayes, Liza Makowski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Obesity continues to be one of the most prominent public health dilemmas in the world. The complex interaction among the varied causes of obesity makes it a particularly challenging problem to address. While typical high-fat purified diets successfully induce weight gain in rodents, we have described a more robust model of diet-induced obesity based on feeding rats a diet consisting of highly palatable, energy-dense human junk foods - the "cafeteria" diet (CAF, 45-53% kcal from fat). We previously reported that CAF-fed rats became hyperphagic, gained more weight, and developed more severe hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and glucose intolerance compared to the lard-based 45% kcal from fat high fat diet-fed group. In addition, the CAF diet-fed group displayed a higher degree of inflammation in adipose and liver, mitochondrial dysfunction, and an increased concentration of lipid-derived, pro-inflammatory mediators. Building upon our previous findings, we aimed to determine mechanisms that underlie physiologic findings in the CAF diet. We investigated the effect of CAF diet-induced obesity on adipose tissue specifically using expression arrays and immunohistochemistry. Genomic evidence indicated the CAF diet induced alterations in the white adipose gene transcriptome, with notable suppression of glutathione-related genes and pathways involved in mitigating oxidative stress. Immunohistochemical analysis indicated a doubling in adipose lipid peroxidation marker 4-HNE levels compared to rats that remained lean on control standard chow diet. Our data indicates that the CAF diet drives an increase in oxidative damage in white adipose tissue that may affect tissue homeostasis. Oxidative stress drives activation of inflammatory kinases that can perturb insulin signaling leading to glucose intolerance and diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-550
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 29 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • 4-HNE
  • Genomics
  • Inflammation
  • Microarray
  • Obesity
  • Oxidative stress


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