Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Body Fat, and Apoptosis


  • This manuscript has been assigned Journal Series No. 12938, Agricultural Research Division, University of Nebraska.

Animal Science Department, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0908. E-mail:


Objective: The objective of the study was to determine if consumption of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) by mice could induce apoptosis in adipose tissue. Other objectives were to determine the influence of feeding mice CLA for ≤2 weeks on body fat, energy expenditure, and feed intake.

Research Methods and Procedures: A mixture of CLA isomers (predominantly c9,t11 and t10,c12) was included in the AIN-93G diet at 0, 1, and 2%, and fed to mice for 12 days (Trial 1), or was included at 2% and fed to mice for 0, 5, and 14 days (Trial 2). Feed intake was measured daily and energy expenditure was determined by direct calorimetry on day 9 in Trial 1. Retroperitoneal fat pads were analyzed for apoptosis by determination of DNA fragmentation.

Results: Dietary CLA reduced feed intake by 10% to 12% (p < 0.01), but either did not influence or did not increase energy expenditure as indicated by heat loss. Body weight was not influenced by consumption of CLA in Trial 1 but was increased (p < 0.01) by CLA in Trial 2. Weights of retroperitoneal, epididymal, and brown adipose tissues were lower (p < 0.01) in animals fed CLA, although liver weight was increased (p < 0.10; Trial 1) or not changed (Trial 2). Analysis of retroperitoneal fat pad DNA from both trials indicated that apoptosis was increased (p < 0.01) by CLA consumption.

Discussion: These results are interpreted to indicate that CLA consumption causes apoptosis in white adipose tissue. This effect occurs within 5 days of consuming a diet that contains CLA.