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Individual housing of male C57BL/6J mice after weaning impairs growth and predisposes for obesity

Schipper, L., Van Heijningen, S., Karapetsas, G., Van Der Beek, E. M. & Van Dijk, G., 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 5, 17 p., 0225488.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

For (metabolic) research models using mice, singly housing is widely used for practical purposes to study e.g. energy balance regulation and derangements herein. Mouse (social) housing practices could however influence study results by modulating (metabolic) health outcomes. To study the effects of the social housing condition, we assessed parameters for energy balance regulation and proneness to (diet induced) obesity in male C57Bl/6J mice that were housed individually or socially (in pairs) directly after weaning, both at standard ambient temperature of 21 degrees C. During adolescence, individually housed mice had reduced growth rate, while energy intake and energy expenditure were increased compared to socially housed counterparts. At 6 weeks of age, these mice had reduced lean body mass, but significantly higher white adipose tissue mass compared to socially housed mice, and higher UCP-1 mRNA expression in brown adipose tissue. During adulthood, body weight gain of individually housed animals exceeded that of socially housed mice, with elevations in both energy intake and expenditure. At 18 weeks of age, individually housed mice showed higher adiposity and higher mRNA expression of UCP-1 in inguinal white but not in brown adipose tissue. Exposure to an obesogenic diet starting at 6 weeks of age further amplified body weight gain and adipose tissue deposition and caused strong suppression of inguinal white adipose tissue mRNA UCP-1 expression. This study shows that post-weaning individual housing of male mice impairs adolescent growth and results in higher susceptibility to obesity in adulthood with putative roles for thermoregulation and/or affectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0225488
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number5
Early online date26-May-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Keywords

  • PITUITARY-ADRENAL AXIS, SOCIAL-ISOLATION, BODY-WEIGHT, ADIPOSE-TISSUE, ENVIRONMENTAL-TEMPERATURE, DEVELOPMENTAL ORIGINS, THERMAL ENVIRONMENT, LABORATORY MICE, COLD STRESS, FOOD-INTAKE

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