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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Research Project #426826

Research Project: Improving Public Health by Understanding Diversity in Diet, Body, and Brain Interactions

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

2014 Annual Report

Objective 1: Compare metabolic, physiologic, and behavioral responses to consumption of a high quality vs. typical American diet pattern. Sub-objective 1A. Determine if a diverse, DGA-based nutrient-rich diet elicits a superior metabolic profile in persons at-risk for metabolic disease, compared to the typical U.S. diet that strays from the DGA with respect to saturated fats, added sugars, fiber, and dairy servings. Sub-objective 1B. Determine if chronic stress, stress system responsiveness, and diet quality interact to influence metabolic health. Sub-objective 1C. Determine the effect of diet quality and physical activity level on the plasma metabolomic response to a mixed macronutrient challenge. Sub-objective 1D. Determine if combining assessment of dietary intake using the 24-h recalls, physical activity assessments, anthropomorphic measures and fasting biomarkers of hepatic lipogenesis will improve prediction of insulin sensitivity assessments over the use of fasting glucose and insulin. Objective 2: Discover interrelationships between metabolically important tissues that contribute to metabolic health and energy homeostasis. Sub-objective 2A. Characterize the gut (fecal) microbial populations in response to dietary interventions based on the Dietary Guidelines or the typical American diet, and determine how they are related to metabolic outcomes. Determine the contribution of gut microbiota to the systemic metabolome. Sub-objective 2B. Characterize metabolic phenotypes and alterations in physiological network cross-talk that correspond to unhealthy and healthy overweight/obesity states. Sub-objective 2C. Investigate the causes of inflammation and cellular stress responses that are associated with obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome: the roles of specific metabolites and perturbations in metabolic pathways. Objective 3: Identify physiological and psychological processes that influence behavior related to food intake. Sub-objective 3A. Link individual differences in eating behavior with metabolomics and endocrinology of hunger and satiety. Sub-objective 3B. Vulnerability and resilience to stress may be determined by metabolic responses to stress: implications for stress-eating.

We will use a multidisciplinary approach to test molecular, physiologic, and metabolic responses to diet patterns, specific nutrients, and physical activity levels to determine effects on or associations with chronic disease risks. We posit that consumption of a diet, patterned on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), will rapidly improve cardiometabolic risk factors, improve gut barrier function and reduce metabolic dysfunction. Also, individual differences in chronic stress and stress system responsiveness will partially explain variation in metabolic responses to the DGA diet. A randomized, food-controlled trial will be conducted to test these hypotheses. We will also conduct a cross-sectional study using metabolomics to map an individual’s metabolic flexibility and link this phenotypic trait to lifestyle, including markers of health status, physical activity parameters, diet quality, food preferences and food choices. As part of this study, we will administer a meal challenge to test the hypothesis that behavioral phenotypes can be identified based on responses of known and putative satiety signals to the meal. Using the cross-sectional approach and metabolomic analyses, we will develop basal and stress-induced metabolite profiles to identify differential stress-response signatures. Ancillary studies will be conducted to examine underlying mechanisms that might explain metabolic dysfunction. To examine gut microbiota and metabolites in more depth, samples of adipose, liver, intestinal content, and blood from ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ obese undergoing gastric bypass surgery will be used to derive phenotypic signatures spanning several biological systems and adipose tissue structure/function to test the hypothesis that phenotypic signatures can predict improvement in insulin resistance and inflammation. Using a murine model of diet-induced obesity, we will test the hypothesis that obesity disrupts the normal association between peripheral nervous system (PNS) sensing of ambient temperature and communication to the brain to coordinate temperature-control of feeding and energy expenditure. This study will include functional tests in vivo, and PNS expression of temperature-sensing TRP channels will be evaluated in dorsal root ganglion ex vivo. Finally, cultured muscle cells will be used to examine the hypothesis that incomplete mitochondrial combustion of fatty acids in tissue such as muscle leads to increased acylcarnitine accumulation, and select acylcarnitines promote cell stress responses will be evaluated.

Progress Report
This is a new project which began in March of 2014 and continues research from the previous project, “Linking Foods, Behavior and Metabolism to Promote a Healthy Body Weight, 5306-51530-019-00D.” Please see the report of the previous project for more information. Progress to date includes establishment of the project team, planning for implementation of objective-related experiments, and preparation/submission of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) intervention trial (Objective 1). A more comprehensive progress report will be available at the end of the first year of this new project in the FY15 Annual Report.


Review Publications
Dunn, T.N., Adams, S.H. 2014. Relationships among metabolic homeostasis, diet, and peripheral afferent neuron biology. Advances in Nutrition. 5:386-393. DOI: 10.3945/an.113.005439.
Odle, J., Adams, S.H., Vockley, J. 2014. Carnitine. Advances in Nutrition. 5:289-290. DOI:10.3945/an.113.005199.
Hirahatake, K., Slavin, J., Maki, K.C., Adams, S.H. 2014. Associations between dairy foods, diabetes, and metabolic health: potential mechanisms and future directions. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental. 63:618-627. DOI: 10.1016/jmetabol.2014.02.009.
Dunn, T.N., Keenan, A.H., Thomas, A.P., Newman, J.W., Adams, S.H. 2014. A diet containing a nonfat dry milk matrix significantly alters systemic endocannabinoids and oxylipins in diet-induced obese mice. Nutrition and Metabolism. 11:1-12.
Rutkowsky, J.M., Knotts, T.A., Ono-Moore, K.D., Mc Coin, C.S., Huang, S., Schneider, D.A., Singh, S., Adams, S.H., Hwang, D.H. 2014. Acylcarnitines activate pro-inflammatory signaling pathways. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism. DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00656.2013.
Fjaere, E., Aune, U., Keenan, A., Ma, T., Lillefosse, H., Xi, Y., Newman, J.W., Haj, F., Liaset, B., Kristiansen, K., Madsen, L. 2014. Indomethacin treatment prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, but not glucose intolerance in C57BL/6J mice. Journal of Biological Chemistry. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M113525220.
Huang, L. 2014. Zinc and its transporters, pancreatic beta cells, and insulin metabolism. In: Litwack, G. editor. Vitamins and Hormones. Atlanta, GA: Elsevier. p.365-390.