Sex-Specific Differences in Fat Storage, Development of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Brain Structure in Juvenile HFD-Induced Obese Ldlr-/-.Leiden Mice.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Sex-specific differences play a role in metabolism, fat storage in adipose tissue, and brain structure. At juvenile age, brain function is susceptible to the effects of obesity; little is known about sex-specific differences in juvenile obesity. Therefore, this study examined sex-specific differences in adipose tissue and liver of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice, and putative alterations between male and female mice in brain structure in relation to behavioral changes during the development of juvenile obesity. METHODS:In six-week-old male and female Ldlr-/-.Leiden mice (n = 48), the impact of 18 weeks of HFD-feeding was examined. Fat distribution, liver pathology and brain structure and function were analyzed imunohisto- and biochemically, in cognitive tasks and with MRI. RESULTS:HFD-fed female mice were characterized by an increased perigonadal fat mass, pronounced macrovesicular hepatic steatosis and liver inflammation. Male mice on HFD displayed an increased mesenteric fat mass, pronounced adipose tissue inflammation and microvesicular hepatic steatosis. Only male HFD-fed mice showed decreased cerebral blood flow and reduced white matter integrity. CONCLUSIONS:At young age, male mice are more susceptible to the detrimental effects of HFD than female mice. This study emphasizes the importance of sex-specific differences in obesity, liver pathology, and brain function.