Skip Navigation LinksHome > December 2012 - Volume 60 - Issue 8 > High-Protein Diets Alters Body Composition and Improves Insu...
Journal of Investigative Medicine:
doi: 10.231/JIM.0b013e3182746ce8
Original Articles

High-Protein Diets Alters Body Composition and Improves Insulin Resistance in a Rat Model of Low Birth Weight

Yu, Mu-xue MD*; Shen, Zhen-yu MD*; Qiu, Xiao-shan MM*; Mo, Qing-ping MB

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Objective: We aimed to investigate the effects of early high-protein supplementation on low birth weight (LBW)–associated adult metabolic disturbances.

Materials and Methods: This study involved 32 LBW rat pups that were fed a normal protein (20% of energy intake) diet or high-protein (30% of energy intake) diet on their first 4 weeks of life. Sixteen rat pups with normal birth weight (NBW) fed the normal-protein diet were included as control. Biochemical measurements were performed at 4 and 12 weeks of age.

Results: Low birth weight offspring showed significantly (P < 0.05) increased fat mass percentage and adipocyte size and decreased lean mass percentage and muscle fiber size relative to NBW offspring. These LBW-related changes in body composition were corrected by high-protein diet intervention. At 12 weeks of age, the fasting insulin level (7.14 ± 0.83 vs 9.27 ± 0.67 mU/L) and homeostasis model of insulin resistance (1.71 ± 0.35 vs 2.30 ± 0.44) were significantly lower in high protein–fed LBW offspring than in normal protein–fed LBW offspring. Low birth weight rat pups showed a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in serum adiponectin concentrations, glucose transporter 4 mRNA abundance, and phosphorylation levels of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) relative to NBW controls. These LBW-associated alterations in gene expression were reversed by early high-protein treatment.

Conclusions: Early postnatal high-protein intake alters the body composition and improves insulin resistance in adults with LBW, which is associated with activation of the AMPK and mTOR pathways.

© 2012 American Federation for Medical Research


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