Impact of high-fat diet and antioxidant supplement on mitochondrial functions and gene transcripts in rat muscle

R. Sreekumar, J. Unnikrishnan, A. Fu, J. Nygren, K. R. Short, J. Schimke, R. Barazzoni, K. Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


High-fat diets are reported to increase oxidative stress in a variety of tissues, whereas antioxidant supplementation prevents many diseases attributed to high-fat diet. Rodent skeletal muscle mitochondrial DNA has been shown to be a potential site of oxidative damage. We hypothesized that the effects of a high-fat diet on skeletal muscle DNA functions would be attenuated or partially reversed by antioxidant supplementation. Gene expression profiling and measurement of mitochondrial ATP production capacity were performed in skeletal muscle from male rats after feeding one of three diets (control, high-fat diet with or without antioxidants) for 36 wk. The high-fat diet altered transcript levels of 18 genes of 800 surveyed compared with the control-fed rats, Alterations included reduced expression of genes involved in free-radical scavenging and tissue development and increased expression of stress response and signal transduction genes, The magnitude of these alterations due to high-fat diet was reduced by antioxidant supplementation. Real-time PCR measurements confirmed the changes in transcript levels of cytochrome c oxidase subunit III and superoxide dismutase-1 and -2 noted by microarray approach. Mitochondrial ATP production was unaltered by dietary changes or antioxidant supplemention. It is concluded that the high-fat diet increases the transcription of genes involved in stress response but reduces those of free-radical scavenger enzymes, resulting in reduced DNA repair/metabolism (increased DNA damage). Antioxidants partially prevent these changes. Mitochondrial functions in skeletal muscle remain unaltered by the dietary intervention due to many adaptive changes in gene transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1055-E1061
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5 45-5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Antioxidants
  • Gene expression
  • Mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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