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Fonken, L. K., Lieberman, R. A., Weil, Z. M., & Nelson, R. J. (2013). Dim light at night exaggerates weight gain and inflammation associated with a high-fat diet in male mice. Endocrinology, 154(10), 3817–3825.
Abstract: Elevated nighttime light exposure is associated with symptoms of metabolic syndrome. In industrialized societies, high-fat diet (HFD) and exposure to light at night (LAN) often cooccur and may contribute to the increasing obesity epidemic. Thus, we hypothesized that dim LAN (dLAN) would provoke additional and sustained body mass gain in mice on a HFD. Male mice were housed in either a standard light/dark cycle or dLAN and fed either chow or HFD. Exposure to dLAN and HFD increase weight gain, reduce glucose tolerance, and alter insulin secretion as compared with light/dark cycle and chow, respectively. The effects of dLAN and HFD appear additive, because mice exposed to dLAN that were fed HFD display the greatest increases in body mass. Exposure to both dLAN and HFD also change the timing of food intake and increase TNFalpha and MAC1 gene expression in white adipose tissue after 4 experimental weeks. Changes in MAC1 gene expression occur more rapidly due to HFD as compared with dLAN; after 5 days of experimental conditions, mice fed HFD already increase MAC1 gene expression in white adipose tissue. HFD also elevates microglia activation in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus and hypothalamic TNFalpha, IL-6, and Ikbkb gene expression. Microglia activation is increased by dLAN, but only among chow-fed mice and dLAN does not affect inflammatory gene expression. These results suggest that dLAN exaggerates weight gain and peripheral inflammation associated with HFD.