Nutrition & Metabolism (2021-03-01)

A fifty percent leucine-restricted diet reduces fat mass and improves glucose regulation

  • Ziheng Zhou,
  • Hanrui Yin,
  • Yajie Guo,
  • Yuanyuan Fang,
  • Feixiang Yuan,
  • Shanghai Chen,
  • Feifan Guo

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 1
pp. 1 – 12


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Abstract Background Leucine deprivation modulates the dietary amino acid composition, reducing the fat content and improving the glucose tolerance, thus protecting the organism against obesity. However, a complete deprivation of leucine can lead to an extremely rapid fat loss in mice, accompanied by prolonged adverse effects such as weakness and mental fatigue. Therefore, in this study we aimed to seek the optimal concentration of dietary leucine that can reduce fat mass and improve the metabolism without the onset of severe effects. Methods To investigate whether there is a better concentration of diet leucine restriction (LR), based on the diet we conducted (A10021B), that can reduce fat mass and improve metabolism status without taking many negative effects, we fed 8 weeks old male C57Bl/6J mice with increasing degrees of leucine restriction diet 0% LR (control group), 25% LR, 50% LR, and 75% LR groups (4–6 mice each group). Fat mass and blood glucose levels were measured. The expression levels of genes involved in lipid metabolism in white adipose tissue (WAT) and liver, and proteins in insulin signaling were assessed in WAT, liver and muscle. Results We found that the 50% LR group is the most proper group here at the lowest leucine effective concentration, which reduced fat mass (p < 0.05) and improved glucose regulation in mice over a 90 days feeding. Further studies revealed that lipid synthesis pathway (Fas, Scd1and Srebp1, p < 0.05) was downregulated and lipolysis (Atgl, p < 0.05) was upregulated in WAT in 50% LR group, compared to that in control group. Furthermore, glucose regulation (glucose tolerance test, p < 0.05) was also improved, and insulin signaling (p < 0.05) in the muscle was enhanced in 50% LR group while in WAT and liver were not changed. Conclusions Collectively, a 50% LR in mice reduced fat mass and improved glucose regulation, which may function through modulating lipid synthesis and lipolysis pathway in adipose tissue as well as enhancing insulin signaling in muscle. So far, we provide a further consideration for carrying out the diet of leucine restriction to reduce fat and improve metabolism status before clinical study.