Insulin sensitivity, fat distribution, and adipocytokine response to different diets in lean and obese cats before and after weight loss

M. Hoenig, K. Thomaseth, M. Waldron, D. C. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity is a major health problem in cats and a risk factor for diabetes. It has been postulated that cats are always gluconeogenic and that the rise in obesity might be related to high dietary carbohydrates. We examined the effect of a high-carbohydrate/low-protein (HC) and a high-protein/low-carbohydrate (HP) diet on glucose and fat metabolism during euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp, adipocytokines, and fat distribution in 12 lean and 16 obese cats before and after weight loss. Feeding diet HP led to greater heat production in lean but not in obese cats. Regardless of diet, obese cats had markedly decreased glucose effectiveness and insulin resistance, but greater suppression of nonesterified fatty acids during the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp was seen in obese cats on diet HC compared with lean cats on either diet or obese cats on diet HP. In contrast to humans, obese cats had abdominal fat equally distributed subcutaneously and intra-abdominally. Weight loss normalized insulin sensitivity; however, increased nonesterified fatty acid suppression was maintained and fat loss was less in cats on diet HC. Adiponectin was negatively and leptin positively correlated with fat mass. Lean cats and cats during weight loss, but not obese cats, adapted to the varying dietary carbohydrate/protein content with changes in substrate oxidation. We conclude that diet HP is beneficial through maintenance of normal insulin sensitivity of fat metabolism in obese cats, facilitating the loss of fat during weight loss, and increasing heat production in lean cats. These data also show that insulin sensitivity of glucose and fat metabolism can be differentially regulated in cats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R227-R234
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adiponectin
  • Diabetes
  • Euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp
  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Leptin
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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