A short-term, high-fat diet up-regulates lipid metabolism and gene expression in human skeletal muscle

David Cameron-Smith*, Louise M. Burke, Damien J. Angus, Rebecca J. Tunstall, Gregory R. Cox, Arend Bonen, John A. Hawley, Mark Hargreaves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

189 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dietary fatty acids may be important in regulating gene expression. However, little is known about the effect of changes in dietary fatty acids on gene regulation in human skeletal muscle. Objective: The objective was to determine the effect of altered dietary fat intake on the expression of genes encoding proteins necessary for fatty acid transport and β-oxidation in skeletal muscle. Design: Fourteen well-trained male cyclists and triathletes with a mean (± SE) age of 26.9 ± 1.7 y, weight of 73.7 ± 1.7 kg, and peak oxygen uptake of 67.0 ± 1.3 mL·kg-1·min-1 consumed either a high-fat diet (HFat: > 65% of energy as lipids) or an isoenergetic high-carbohydrate diet (HCho: 70-75% of energy as carbohydrate) for 5 d in a crossover design. On day 1 (baseline) and again after 5 d of dietary intervention, resting muscle and blood samples were taken. Muscle samples were analyzed for gene expression [fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD36), plasma membrane fatty acid binding protein (FABPpm), carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I), β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (β-HAD), and uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3)] and concentrations of the proteins FAT/CD36 and FABPpm. Results: The gene expression of FAT/CD36 and β-HAD and the gene abundance of FAT/CD36 were greater after the HFat than after the HCho diet (P < 0.05). Messenger RNA expression of FABPpm, CPT I, and UCP-3 did not change significantly with either diet. Conclusions: A rapid and marked capacity for changes in dietary fatty acid availability to modulate the expression of mRNA-encoding proteins is necessary for fatty acid transport and oxidative metabolism. This finding is evidence of nutrient-gene interactions in human skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-318
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


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