American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology

Retention of sedentary obese visceral white adipose tissue phenotype with intermittent physical activity despite reduced adiposity.

PMID 26180183


Regular physical activity is effective in reducing visceral white adipose tissue (AT) inflammation and oxidative stress, and these changes are commonly associated with reduced adiposity. However, the impact of multiple periods of physical activity, intercalated by periods of inactivity, i.e., intermittent physical activity, on markers of AT inflammation and oxidative stress is unknown. In the present study, 5-wk-old male C57BL/6 mice were randomized into three groups (n = 10/group): sedentary, regular physical activity, and intermittent physical activity, for 24 wk. All animals were singly housed and fed a diet containing 45% kcal from fat. Regularly active mice had access to voluntary running wheels throughout the study period, whereas intermittently active mice had access to running wheels for 3-wk intervals (i.e., 3 wk on/3 wk off) throughout the study. At death, regular and intermittent physical activity was associated with similar reductions in visceral AT mass (approximately -24%, P < 0.05) relative to sedentary. However, regularly, but not intermittently, active mice exhibited decreased expression of visceral AT genes related to inflammation (e.g., monocyte chemoattractant protein 1), immune cell infiltration (e.g., CD68, CD11c, F4/80, CD11b/CD18), oxidative stress (e.g., p47 phagocyte oxidase), and endoplasmic reticulum stress (e.g., CCAAT enhancer-binding protein homologous protein; all P < 0.05). Furthermore, regular, but not intermittent, physical activity was associated with a trend toward improvement in glucose tolerance (P = 0.059). Collectively, these findings suggest that intermittent physical activity over a prolonged period of time may lead to a reduction in adiposity but with retention of a sedentary obese white AT and metabolic phenotype.