Obesity


Clinical Background

Obesity is defined as being more than 20% (men) or 25% (women) overweight. Obesity is increasing rapidly throughout the developed world, and has increased from 13% to 31% in the US in the past 30 years. In the US, it is estimated that 63.6 million adults or 31.4% of the population are obese, of whom a significant percentage are morbidly obese. Obesity dramatically increases the chances of developing Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. The primary causes of obesity are excessive calorie intake and lack of physical activity.

Preclinical Models

Model Description Length Endpoints
Genetic obesity
Zucker and ZDF rats, ob/ob and db/db mice 28-56 days Weight, Glucose levels, Terminal serum chemistry, Tissue sample
Diet-induced obesity
Animals placed on high-fat, high-carb diet 28-56 days Weight, Glucose levels, Terminal serum chemistry, Tissue sample


Genetic obesity

There are numerous genetic models of obesity in both rats and mice, including the Zucker and ZDF rats and ob/ob and db/db mice, in which obesity develops spontaneously. Animals are weighed daily to track weight change and their blood glucose levels can also be monitored. After animals are sacrificed, serum chemistry can be performed and samples of skin with adjacent subcutaneous fat can be harvested.

Diet-Induced Obesity

As excessive caloric intake with too little exercise is a primary cause of obesity, our model of diet-induced obesity in mice and rats usually involves a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet and is translatable to the human population. Additionally, this diet can be fed to animals with any genetic background. Animals are weighed daily to track weight change and their blood glucose levels can also be monitored. After animals are sacrificed, serum chemistry can be performed and samples of skin with adjacent subcutaneous fat can be harvested.