Diet is critical for prolonged glycemic control after short-term insulin treatment in high-fat diet-induced type 2 diabetic male mice

Guo Aili, Nigel A. Daniels, Jean Thuma, Kelly D. McCall, Ramiro Malgor, Frank L. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical studies suggest that short-term insulin treatment in new-onset type 2 diabetes (T2DM) can promote prolonged glycemic control. The purpose of this study was to establish an animal model to examine such a "legacy" effect of early insulin therapy (EIT) in long-term glycemic control in new-onset T2DM. The objective of the study was to investigate the role of diet following onset of diabetes in the favorable outcomes of EIT. Methodology: As such, C57BL6/J male mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 21 weeks to induce diabetes and then received 4 weeks of daily insulin glargine or sham subcutaneous injections. Subsequently, mice were either kept on the HFD or switched to a low-fat diet (LFD) for 4 additional weeks. Principal Findings: Mice fed a HFD gained significant fat mass and displayed increased leptin levels, increasing insulin resistance (poor HOMA-IR) and worse glucose tolerance test (GTT) performance in comparison to mice fed a LFD, as expected. Insulin-treated diabetic mice but maintained on the HFD demonstrated even greater weight gain and insulin resistance compared to sham-treated mice. However, insulin-treated mice switched to the LFD exhibited a better HOMA-IR compared to those mice left on a HFD. Further, between the insulin-treated and sham control mice, in spite of similar HOMA-IR values, the insulin-treated mice switched to a LFD following insulin therapy did demonstrate significantly better HOMA-B% values than sham control and insulin-treated HFD mice. Conclusion/Interpretation: Early insulin treatment in HFD-induced T2DM in C57BL6/J mice was only beneficial in animals that were switched to a LFD after insulin treatment which may explain why a similar legacy effect in humans is achieved clinically in only a portion of cases studied, emphasizing a vital role for diet adherence in diabetes control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0117556
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 29 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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