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Periodic 48 h feed withdrawal improves glucose tolerance in growing pigs by enhancing adipogenesis and lipogenesis

Priya S Mir1*, Mao L He1, Gregory Travis1, Toby Entz1, Tim McAllister1, Sigrid Marchand2, Al Schaefer2, Jon Meadus2, Pierre Lepage2, Erasmus Okine3 and Michael V Dodson4

Author Affiliations

1 Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Research Centre, 5403, 1st Ave S., P.O. Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1, Canada

2 Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Research Centre, 6000 C and E Trail, Lacombe, AB T4L 1W1 Canada

3 Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada

4 Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163-646351 USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:10  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-10

Published: 9 February 2012



Adipocyte numbers and peroxisome proliferators activated receptorγ (PPARγ) expression of retroperitoneal tissue increased while area under the curve (AUC) during the glucose tolerance test (GTT) was reduced in rats subjected to certain feed withdrawal (FW) regimens. Thus, using pigs as the experimental model, the hypothesis that FW regimens influence glucose tolerance by influencing fat cell function was evaluated with the objective of determining the effect of a single (FWx1; at age of 19 wk for 48 h) or periodic, multiple (FWx4; 24 h FW at 7 and 11 wk of age and 48 h FW at 15 and 19 wk of age) FW on AUC of glucose and insulin during the GTT relative to pigs that did not experience FW (Control).


Growth, body composition, adipocyte numbers, PPARγ expression, lipogenic potential as glucose uptake into fat of adipocytes of varying diameter in omental (OM) and subcutaneous (SQ) fat as affected by FW regimens were determined in pigs initiated into the study at 5 wk of age and fed the same diet, ad libitum.


Blood glucose concentrations for prior to and 120 min post glucose meal tended to be lower (p = 0.105 and 0.097, respectively) in pigs in FW treatments. In OM fat; cell numbers, glucose Universal14C [U14C] incorporation into fat and rate of incorporation per 104 cells was greatest for cells with diameters of 90-119 μm. Pigs undergoing FWx4 tended to have greater (p = 0.0685; by 191%) number of adipocytes, increased (p = 0.0234) glucose U14C incorporation into adipocytes and greater (p = 0.0872) rate of glucose uptake into cells of 119-150 μm diameter than of cells from control or FWx1 pigs. Subcutaneous adipocyte numbers in 22-60 and 61-90 μm diameter ranges from pigs in FWx1 tended to be greater (p = 0.08 and 0.06, respectively) than for those in FWx4 treatment, yet PPARγ expression and total cell number were not affected by treatment.


Results suggest that FW regimens influence fat cell function or lipogenesis rather than number, affecting glucose metabolism and may have implications in drug-free control of metabolic syndrome symptoms.

Adipocyte diameter; area under the curve; glucose tolerance; glucose incorporation into fat; pigs; feed withdrawal