BCAA Supplementation in Mice with Diet-induced Obesity Alters the Metabolome without Impairing Glucose Homeostasis

Jennifer Lee, Archana Vijayakumar, Phillip J. White, Yuping Xu, Olga Ilkayeva, Christopher J. Lynch, Christopher B. Newgard, Barbara B. Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Circulating branched chain amino acid (BCAA) levels are elevated in obese humans and genetically obese rodents. However, the relationship of BCAAs to insulin resistance in diet-induced obese mice, a commonly used model to study glucose homeostasis, is still ill-defined. Here we examined how high-fat high-sucrose (HFHS) or high-fat diet (HFD) feeding, with or without BCAA supplementation in water, alters the metabolome in serum/plasma and tissues in mice and whether raising circulating BCAA levels worsens insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Neither HFHS nor HFD feeding raised circulating BCAA levels in insulin-resistant diet-induced obese mice. BCAA supplementation raised circulating BCAA and branched-chain α-keto acid levels and C5-OH/C3-DC acylcarnitines (AC) in muscle from mice fed an HFHS diet or HFD, but did not worsen insulin resistance. A set of short-and long-chain acyl CoAs were elevated by diet alone in muscle, liver, and white adipose tissue (WAT), but not increased further by BCAA supplementation. HFD feeding reduced valine and leucine oxidation in WAT but not in muscle. BCAA supplementation markedly increased valine oxidation in muscle from HFD-fed mice, while leucine oxidation was unaffected by diet or BCAA treatment. Here we establish an extensive metabolome database showing tissue-specific changes in mice on 2 different HFDs, with or without BCAA supplementation. We conclude that mildly elevating circulating BCAAs and a subset of ACs by BCAA supplementation does not worsen insulin resistance or glucose tolerance in mice. This work highlights major differences in the effects of BCAAs on glucose homeostasis in diet-induced obese mice versus data reported in obese rats and in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbqab062
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology


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