Celiac.com 08/18/2014 - A team of researchers recently set out to better understand the effects of gluten-free diets on obesity.

Image of International Diabetes Symbol: Wikimedia Commons--Fred the OysterThe research team included F.L. Soares, R. Matoso de Oliveira, L.G. Teixeira, Z. Menezes, S.S. Pereira, A.C. Alves, N.V. Batista, A.M. de Faria, D.C. Cara, A.V. Ferreira, and J.I. Alvarez-Leite. They are affiliated with the Departamento de Alimentos, Faculdade de Farmácia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Specifically, the team wanted to determine whether a gluten-free diet can prevent the expansion of adipose tissue, and its consequences.

For their study, the team fed C57BL/6 mice a high-fat diet containing either 4.5% gluten (Control) or no gluten (GF). They noted body weight and adiposity gains, leukocyte rolling and adhesion, macrophage infiltration and cytokine production in adipose tissue.

The team measured blood lipid profiles, glycaemia, insulin resistance and adipokines. They also assessed the expression of the PPAR-α and γ, lipoprotein lipase (LPL), hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), carnitine palmitoyl acyltransferase-1 (CPT-1), insulin receptor, GLUT-4 and adipokines in epidydimal fat.

Gluten-free animals showed less body weight and adipose gain, with no changes in food intake or lipid excretion. These results were associated with up-regulation of PPAR-α, LPL, HSL and CPT-1, which are related to lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation.

The team also saw improved glucose regulation, and pro-inflammatory profile-related over-expression of PPAR-γ. Intravital microscopy revealed a lower number of adhered cells in the adipose tissue microvasculature. The over-expression of PPAR-γ is related to the increase of adiponectin and GLUT-4.

The results of this study suggest that gluten-free diets can be helpful in reducing fat gain, inflammation and insulin resistance. They suggest that a gluten-free diet should be tested as a way of preventing the development of obesity and metabolic disorders.

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