Exercise and Calorie Restriction Protect Against Changes in Intestinal Morphology Induced by High-fat Diets


Wisniewski, P.J.1, Shikhel, S.1, Lightfoot, S.A., MD2, Campbell, S.C., PhD1. 1Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, 2VAMC – OKC, Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Our lab has previously shown that diet induced obesity (DIO) can alter intestinal morphology, producing villi that are significantly shorter and wider than their lean counterparts. In addition, DIO induces inflammation as evident by plasmacystoid and lymphoid infiltrate into the villi. Purpose: The goal of this project was to understand if diet (calorie restriction) or exercise can protect the villi from these changes even in the presence of high-fat feeding. Methods: For this study, 30 male C57 mice (6-weeks old) were acclimated for 2-weeks and randomly assigned to one of five groups (n=6) as follows; 1) lean sedentary; 2) DIO sedentary; 3) lean exercise; 4) DIO exercise; and 5) high-fat calorie-restriction (CR). Animals were gradually acclimated to motorized treadmill running which culminated with the animals running 4 days/week for 40 minutes per day at 15m/min. CR animals consumed 70% of the ad libitum fed mice, which was approximately 1.91 g/day. Food intake was monitored every other day and body weight every week to ensure CR maintenance and health of the animals. Upon sacrifice weight was recorded and duodenal sections were removed and quickly placed in 3% sucrose, 2% paraformaldehyde for immunohistochemistry. Results: Results showed that both exercise and CR reduced weight gain of DIO animals compared to their sedentary ad libitum fed counterparts. Furthermore, both exercise and CR protected the villi from the morphological changes caused by DIO. Specifically villi appeared to be tall and thin, which is consistent with lean animals and indicative of a healthy duodenum. Conclusion: These results support that CR and exercise is health promoting even in the presence of high-fat feedings. Future studies should examine the impact of combining exercise and CR on intestinal health and inflammation.

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