Comprehensive Physiology Wiley Online Library

Physiological Responses of Mammals to Overnutrition

Full Article on Wiley Online Library


The sections in this article are:

1 Consequences of Overnutrition
1.1 Thrifty Gene: Altered Lipid Metabolism
1.2 Animal Models
1.3 Physiological Consequences
2 Factors Influencing the Response to Overnutrition
2.1 Gender
2.2 Age
2.3 Genetics
2.4 Exercise
2.5 Stress
2.6 Diet Composition
2.7 Season/Food Availability
3 Physiological Mechanisms Underlying Responses to Overnutrition
3.1 Cellular
3.2 Endocrine Mechanisms
3.3 Neural Mechanisms Mediating the Response to Overnutrition
4 Summary
Figure 1. Figure 1.

Organ weights in obese (O) and nonobese (L) victims of sudden traumatic death (controlled for sex and body length). Organ weights for heart, liver, and kidney were significantly greater in the obese accident victims (n = 26) than in the nonobese (n = 41) (*P < 0.05). No significant differences in spleen or brain. Obesity in these subjects was defined as body weights 20% greater than upper limits of desirable body weight for individuals with large frames .

Figure 2. Figure 2.

Weight gain vs. cumulative excess caloric intake in male volunteers. Four were overfed a mixed diet for 7 months while in prison with access to caffeine‐containing beverages and cigarette smoking; four were overfed fat for 3 months in a clinical research center with restricted activity, smoking, and caffeine‐containing beverages.

Reprinted with permission from Danforth
Figure 3. Figure 3.

Basic steps in lipogenesis and lipolysis in human adipocytes. Triglyceride (TG) circulates in blood in the form of lipoproteins, where it is broken down into free fatty acids (FFA) by lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is synthesized in the white adipocyte and located on the plasma membrane of the capillary endothelial cell. The FFA diffuse into the white adipocyte where they are re‐esterified with glycerol to form TG. Insulin enhances the storage of fat as TG by increasing synthesis of LPL and facilitating the transport of glucose into the white adipocyte by stimulating the Glut 4 glucose transporter protein. Lipolysis occurs via a cAMP‐mediated cascade, which results in the phosphorylation of hormone‐sensitive lipase (HSL), an enzyme which hydrolyzes TG into FFA and glycerol. These FFA are then free to diffuse into the blood. Lipolysis is stimulated by the β1‐noradrenergic receptor [via a G‐stimulatory (Gs) protein] and inhibited by the α2‐noradrenergic and A1‐adenosine receptors [via a G‐inhibitory (Gi) protein]. Insulin inhibits lipolysis by inhibiting HSL. PDE is phosphodiesterase.

Expanded from Hirsch et al.

Figure 1.

Organ weights in obese (O) and nonobese (L) victims of sudden traumatic death (controlled for sex and body length). Organ weights for heart, liver, and kidney were significantly greater in the obese accident victims (n = 26) than in the nonobese (n = 41) (*P < 0.05). No significant differences in spleen or brain. Obesity in these subjects was defined as body weights 20% greater than upper limits of desirable body weight for individuals with large frames .

Figure 2.

Weight gain vs. cumulative excess caloric intake in male volunteers. Four were overfed a mixed diet for 7 months while in prison with access to caffeine‐containing beverages and cigarette smoking; four were overfed fat for 3 months in a clinical research center with restricted activity, smoking, and caffeine‐containing beverages.

Reprinted with permission from Danforth

Figure 3.

Basic steps in lipogenesis and lipolysis in human adipocytes. Triglyceride (TG) circulates in blood in the form of lipoproteins, where it is broken down into free fatty acids (FFA) by lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is synthesized in the white adipocyte and located on the plasma membrane of the capillary endothelial cell. The FFA diffuse into the white adipocyte where they are re‐esterified with glycerol to form TG. Insulin enhances the storage of fat as TG by increasing synthesis of LPL and facilitating the transport of glucose into the white adipocyte by stimulating the Glut 4 glucose transporter protein. Lipolysis occurs via a cAMP‐mediated cascade, which results in the phosphorylation of hormone‐sensitive lipase (HSL), an enzyme which hydrolyzes TG into FFA and glycerol. These FFA are then free to diffuse into the blood. Lipolysis is stimulated by the β1‐noradrenergic receptor [via a G‐stimulatory (Gs) protein] and inhibited by the α2‐noradrenergic and A1‐adenosine receptors [via a G‐inhibitory (Gi) protein]. Insulin inhibits lipolysis by inhibiting HSL. PDE is phosphodiesterase.

Expanded from Hirsch et al.
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Vanessa H. Routh, Judith S. Stern, Barbara A. Horwitz. Physiological Responses of Mammals to Overnutrition. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 14: Handbook of Physiology, Environmental Physiology: 1411-1435. First published in print 1996. doi: 10.1002/cphy.cp040262