The effect of short-term overfeeding on serum lipids in healthy humans

Authors

  • Leonie K. Heilbronn,

    1. Discipline of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Adelle C.F. Coster,

    1. Diabetes and Obesity Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
    2. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Lesley V. Campbell,

    1. Diabetes and Obesity Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Jerry R. Greenfield,

    1. Diabetes and Obesity Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Kylie Lange,

    1. Discipline of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Michael J. Christopher,

    1. Metabolomics Laboratory, Baker IDI, Heart and Diabetes Institute, Victoria, Australia
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  • Peter J. Meikle,

    1. Metabolomics Laboratory, Baker IDI, Heart and Diabetes Institute, Victoria, Australia
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  • Dorit Samocha-Bonet

    1. Diabetes and Obesity Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.

  • Author contributions: LKH and DS-B conceived and carried out experiments, analyzed data, interpreted data and wrote the manuscript, ACFC analyzed data and generated figures, KL analyzed data, LVC and JRG interpreted the data, MJC and PJM analyzed and interpreted data. All authors were involved in writing the paper and had final approval of the submitted manuscript.

  • Funding agencies: This work was supported by funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia, the OIS Program of the Victorian Government, Australia, Diabetes Australia Research Trust and the Sachdev Foundation. PJM is supported by a NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, LKH by Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship and DS-B by Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) Fellowship.

Correspondence: Heilbronn LK (leonie.heilbronn@adelaide.edu.au)

Abstract

Objectives

While chronic obesity is associated with alterations in circulating glycerolipids, sphingolipids and plasmalogens, the effects of short-term overfeeding in humans are unclear.

Design and Methods

Healthy individuals (n = 40) were overfed by 1,250 kcal day−1 for 28 days. Insulin sensitivity (hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp), abdominal fat distribution and serum lipidomics (mass spectrometry) were assessed.

Results

Overfeeding increased liver fat, insulin resistance, serum C-reactive protein and urinary F2-isoprostanes. HDL increased (11% ± 2%, P < 0.001) while LDL, triglycerides and nonesterified fatty acids were unchanged. Three hundred and thirty three serum lipids were detected, of which 13% increased and 20% decreased with overfeeding. Total diacylglycerol and lysoalkylphosphatidylcholine (LPC(O)) concentrations decreased (P < 0.01), while total ceramide, Cer22:0 and Cer24:0 increased (P ≤ 0.01). The most notable increases were observed in the HDL-associated phosphatidylethanolamine-based plasmalogens and their precursors alkylhosphatidylethanolamine (18 ± 5% and 38 ± 8% respectively, P ≤ 0.01).

Conclusions

Overfeeding led to weight gain and changes in the serum lipid profile. Increases in ceramides were noted, which left unchecked may promote systemic insulin resistance. Uniform increases were observed in plasmalogens and their precursors. Because plasmalogens are powerful antioxidants, this may be an appropriate response against increased oxidative stress generated by over-nutrition. The metabolic consequences of changes in concentrations of many circulating lipid species with overfeeding require further study. Copyright © 2013 The Obesity Society

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