Animal model of obesity

Animal models are routinely used to study obesity and the associated metabolic disorders. One of the most commonly used models, is the diet-induced obese (DIO) mouse. This is a simple model, where the animals are made obese through feeding a high fat diet (HFD). Once obese, animals begin to develop a number of metabolic diseases, similar to those seen in humans.

During this practical you will dissect male and female mice that have been made obese by feeding a HFD for 12 weeks. Control or lean animals have been maintained on a chow diet. The objective of this practical is to:

  • Become familiar with a commonly used mouse model of obesity and understand why obesity develops in these mice.
  • Characterise the blood glucose and lipid profile of obese mice.
  • Identify major internal organs and understand which respond to body weight gain.
  • Identify sex differences in the control of body weight and the onset of metabolic disorders.

Mouse models are widely used in the study of metabolic disease as they show many similarities to humans. Obesity affects many organ systems in the body to ultimately cause type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcohol steatohepatitis (NASH).

Two white mice standing next to each other. The left mouse is obese, and the right mouse is a normal weight.