International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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Prolonged, isocaloric, time-restricted feeding (TRF) protocols can promote weight loss, improve metabolic dysregulation, and mitigate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In addition, 3-day, severe caloric restriction can improve liver metabolism and glucose homeostasis prior to significant weight loss. Thus, we hypothesized that short-term, isocaloric TRF would improve NAFLD and characteristics of metabolic syndrome in diet-induced obese male mice. After 26 weeks of ad libitum access to western diet, mice either continued feeding ad libitum or were provided with access to the same quantity of western diet for 8 h daily, over the course of two weeks. Remarkably, this short-term TRF protocol modestly decreased liver tissue inflammation in the absence of changes in body weight or epidydimal fat mass. There were no changes in hepatic lipid accumulation or other characteristics of NAFLD. We observed no changes in liver lipid metabolism-related gene expression, despite increased plasma free fatty acids and decreased plasma triglycerides in the TRF group. However, liver Grp78 and Txnip expression were decreased with TRF suggesting hepatic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and activation of inflammatory pathways may have been diminished. We conclude that two-week, isocaloric TRF can potentially decrease liver inflammation, without significant weight loss or reductions in hepatic steatosis, in obese mice with NAFLD.