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Open Access Research article

The effect of dietary fat intake on hepatic gene expression in LG/J AND SM/J mice

Charlyn G Partridge14*, Gloria L Fawcett12, Bing Wang1, Clay F Semenkovich3 and James M Cheverud15

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA

2 Human Genome Sequencing Center, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

3 Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology & Physiology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA

4 Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada

5 Department of Biology, University of Loyola Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:99  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-99

Published: 5 February 2014



The liver plays a major role in regulating metabolic homeostasis and is vital for nutrient metabolism. Identifying the genetic factors regulating these processes could lead to a greater understanding of how liver function responds to a high-fat diet and how that response may influence susceptibilities to obesity and metabolic syndrome. In this study we examine differences in hepatic gene expression between the LG/J and SM/J inbred mouse strains and how gene expression in these strains is affected by high-fat diet. LG/J and SM/J are known to differ in their responses to a high-fat diet for a variety of obesity- and diabetes-related traits, with the SM/J strain exhibiting a stronger phenotypic response to diet.


Dietary intake had a significant effect on gene expression in both inbred lines. Genes up-regulated by a high-fat diet were involved in biological processes such as lipid and carbohydrate metabolism; protein and amino acid metabolic processes were down regulated on a high-fat diet. A total of 259 unique transcripts exhibited a significant diet-by-strain interaction. These genes tended to be associated with immune function. In addition, genes involved in biochemical processes related to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) manifested different responses to diet between the two strains. For most of these genes, SM/J had a stronger response to the high-fat diet than LG/J.


These data show that dietary fat impacts gene expression levels in SM/J relative to LG/J, with SM/J exhibiting a stronger response. This supports previous data showing that SM/J has a stronger phenotypic response to high-fat diet. Based upon these findings, we suggest that SM/J and its cross with the LG/J strain provide a good model for examining non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its role in metabolic syndrome.

Liver; Dietary fat; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; NAFLD; Gene expression; Microarray; SM/J; LG/J