Effects of weight loss on the metabolome of the obese cat

Weight loss appears to positively alter the profile of serum metabolites, with a reduction in inflammatory markers.

Published on
, byGiulia Pignataro

Weight loss in the obese cat results in a significant reduction in metabolic mediators of inflammation, oxidative stress, xenobiotics, and insulin resistance. This is what is revealed in a study published in the journal Metabolites coordinated by Kelly Swanson of the Department of Animal Sciences and Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, at the University of Illinois, in the US.

Obesity among pets increasingly prevalent

There is analarming incidence of obesity in companion animals in the United States and it is considered the most common nutritional disorder to date. In fact, a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reported that 58.9 percent of U.S. cats, or 50.5 million, are either overweight (28 percent) or obese (30.9 percent).

As in humans, obesity in cats is associated with comorbidities that have detrimental effects on health. It is a condition that affects the functions of the entire body and elicits a multiplicity of metabolic responses. Specific alterations in metabolism and dysfunction of different organs remain to be investigated.

Metabolomic tests as reliable biomarkers even in obesity

In veterinary practice, metabolomic testing can be used to identify biomarkers of disease and/or evaluate the effects of nutritional intervention, aid in lifestyle, nutrition, and medication management in pets with obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and other metabolic abnormalities.

Similarly, thepet food industry can use metabolomic tools and/ortargetedmetabolite panels to develop and evaluate the effects of therapeutic diets aimed at improving metabolism, reducing clinical signs, and increasing the quality of life of pets.

The U.S. research team then carried out the study on eight overweight cats fed for body weight maintenance during a four-week baseline period.

The U.S. study

For the 18 weeks following the baseline period, cats were fed to lose weight at a rate of about 1.5 percent body weight/week. Metabolites were measured in serum at weeks 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16. A total of 535 metabolites were identified, of which up to 269 were altered (p- and q-values < 0.05) at each control.

Principal component analysis showed a continuous shift in metabolomic profile as weight loss progressed, with early changes distinct from long-term changes.

Most lipid and carbohydrate metabolites decreased with weight loss; however, ketone bodies and short- to medium-chain fatty acids increased during the same period. While protein metabolites had a variable result: some increased, others decreased with weight loss.

The research team was then able to record that metabolic mediators of inflammation, oxidative stress, xenobiotics, and insulin resistance decreased with weight loss.

Future Perspectives

Such research may lead to the development of metabolite panels to be used as biomarkers to diagnose the disease and to aid the nutritional and pharmaceutical lifestyle of obese cats.

Reference

Reference: Pallotto, M.R.; Oba, P.M.; de Godoy, M.R.C.; Pappan, K.L.; Buff, P.R.; Swanson, K.S. Effects of Weight Loss and Moderate-Protein, High-Fiber Diet Consumption on the Fasted Serum Metabolome of Cats. Metabolites 2021, 11, 324. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11050324

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