Jane F Fearnside

University of Oxford, Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (9)66.36 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Nutritional factors play important roles in the etiology of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and their complications through genotype x environment interactions. We have characterised molecular adaptation to high fat diet (HFD) feeding in inbred mouse strains widely used in genetic and physiological studies. We carried out physiological tests, plasma lipid assays, obesity measures, liver histology, hepatic lipid measurements and liver genome-wide gene transcription profiling in C57BL/6J and BALB/c mice fed either a control or a high fat diet. The two strains showed marked susceptibility (C57BL/6J) and relative resistance (BALB/c) to HFD-induced insulin resistance and non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Global gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) of transcriptome data identified consistent patterns of expression of key genes (Srebf1, Stard4, Pnpla2, Ccnd1) and molecular pathways in the two strains, which may underlie homeostatic adaptations to dietary fat. Differential regulation of pathways, including the proteasome, the ubiquitin mediated proteolysis and PPAR signalling in fat fed C57BL/6J and BALB/c suggests that altered expression of underlying diet-responsive genes may be involved in contrasting nutrigenomic predisposition and resistance to insulin resistance and NAFLD in these models. Collectively, these data, which further demonstrate the impact of gene x environment interactions on gene expression regulations, contribute to improved knowledge of natural and pathogenic adaptive genomic regulations and molecular mechanisms associated with genetically determined susceptibility and resistance to metabolic diseases.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e82825. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Diabetes & Metabolism 03/2011; 37(1). · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Maintaining homeostasis in higher organisms involves a complex interplay of multiple ubiquitous and organ-specific molecular mechanisms that can be characterized using functional genomics technologies such as transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabonomics and dissected out through genetic investigations in healthy and diseased individuals. We characterized the genomic, metabolic, and physiological divergence of several inbred rat strains--Brown Norway, Lewis, Wistar Kyoto, Fisher (F344)--frequently used as healthy controls in genetic studies of the cardiometabolic syndrome. Hierarchical clustering of (1)H NMR-based metabolic profiles (n = 20 for urine, n = 16 for plasma) identified metabolic phenotype (metabotype) divergence patterns similar to the phylogenetic variability based on single nucleotide polymorphisms. However, the observed urinary metabotype variation exceeded that explainable by genetic polymorphisms. To understand further this natural variation, we used an integrative, knowledge-based network biology metabolic pathway analysis approach, coined Metabolite-Set Enrichment Analysis (MSEA). MSEA reveals that homeostasis and physiological plasticity can be achieved despite widespread divergences in glucose, lipid, amino acid, and energy metabolism in the host, together with different gut microbiota contributions suggestive of strain-specific transgenomic interactions. This work illustrates the concept of natural metabolomic variation, leading to physiologically stable albeit diverse strategies within the range of normality, all of which are highly relevant to animal model physiology, genetical genomics, and patient stratification in personalized healthcare.
    Journal of Proteome Research 02/2011; 10(4):1675-89. · 5.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to elucidate the cellular mechanism underlying the suppression of glucose-induced insulin secretion in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 15 weeks. C57BL6J mice were fed a HFD or a normal diet (ND) for 3 or 15 weeks. Plasma insulin and glucose levels in vivo were assessed by intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test. Insulin secretion in vitro was studied using static incubations and a perfused pancreas preparation. Membrane currents, electrical activity, and exocytosis were examined by patch-clamp technique measurements. Intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) was measured by microfluorimetry. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscope (TIRFM) was used for optical imaging of exocytosis and submembrane depolarization-evoked [Ca(2+)](i). The functional data were complemented by analyses of histology and gene transcription. After 15 weeks, but not 3 weeks, mice on HFD exhibited hyperglycemia and hypoinsulinemia. Pancreatic islet content and beta-cell area increased 2- and 1.5-fold, respectively. These changes correlated with a 20-50% reduction of glucose-induced insulin secretion (normalized to insulin content). The latter effect was not associated with impaired electrical activity or [Ca(2+)](i) signaling. Single-cell capacitance and TIRFM measurements of exocytosis revealed a selective suppression (>70%) of exocytosis elicited by short (50 ms) depolarization, whereas the responses to longer depolarizations were (500 ms) less affected. The loss of rapid exocytosis correlated with dispersion of Ca(2+) entry in HFD beta-cells. No changes in gene transcription of key exocytotic protein were observed. HFD results in reduced insulin secretion by causing the functional dissociation of voltage-gated Ca(2+) entry from exocytosis. These observations suggest a novel explanation to the well-established link between obesity and diabetes.
    Diabetes 02/2010; 59(5):1192-201. · 7.90 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Hepatology - J HEPATOL. 01/2009; 50.
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    ABSTRACT: Insulin resistance plays a central role in type 2 diabetes and obesity, which develop as a consequence of genetic and environmental factors. Dietary changes including high fat diet (HFD) feeding promotes insulin resistance in rodent models which present useful systems for studying interactions between genetic background and environmental influences contributing to disease susceptibility and progression. We applied a combination of classical physiological, biochemical and hormonal studies and plasma (1)H NMR spectroscopy-based metabonomics to characterize the phenotypic and metabotypic consequences of HFD (40%) feeding in inbred mouse strains (C57BL/6, 129S6, BALB/c, DBA/2, C3H) frequently used in genetic studies. We showed the wide range of phenotypic and metabonomic adaptations to HFD across the five strains and the increased nutrigenomic predisposition of 129S6 and C57BL/6 to insulin resistance and obesity relative to the other strains. In contrast mice of the BALB/c and DBA/2 strains showed relative resistance to HFD-induced glucose intolerance and obesity. Hierarchical metabonomic clustering derived from (1)H NMR spectral data of the strains provided a phylometabonomic classification of strain-specific metabolic features and differential responses to HFD which closely match SNP-based phylogenetic relationships between strains. Our results support the concept of genomic clustering of functionally related genes and provide important information for defining biological markers predicting spontaneous susceptibility to insulin resistance and pathological adaptations to fat feeding.
    PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(2):e1668. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Complex changes in gene expression are associated with insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) promoted by feeding a high-fat diet (HFD). We used functional genomic technologies to document molecular mechanisms associated with diet-induced NAFLD. Male 129S6 mice were fed a diet containing 40% fat (high-fat diet, HFD) for 15 weeks. Glucose tolerance, in vivo insulin secretion, plasma lipid profile and adiposity were determined. Plasma metabonomics and liver transcriptomics were used to identify changes in gene expression associated with HFD-induced NAFLD. In HFD-fed mice, NAFLD and impaired glucose and lipid homeostasis were associated with increased hepatic transcription of genes involved in fatty acid uptake, intracellular transport, modification and elongation, whilst genes involved in beta-oxidation and lipoprotein secretion were, paradoxically, also upregulated. NAFLD developed despite strong and sustained downregulation of transcription of the gene encoding stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (Scd1) and uncoordinated regulation of transcription of Scd1 and the gene encoding sterol regulatory element binding factor 1c (Srebf1c) transcription. Inflammatory mechanisms appeared to be stimulated by HFD. Our results provide an accurate representation of subtle changes in metabolic and gene expression regulation underlying disease-promoting and compensatory mechanisms, collectively contributing to diet-induced insulin resistance and NAFLD. They suggest that proposed models of NAFLD pathogenesis can be enriched with novel diet-reactive genes and disease mechanisms.
    Diabetologia 10/2007; 50(9):1867-79. · 6.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Characterizing the relationships between genomic and phenotypic variation is essential to understanding disease etiology. Information-dense data sets derived from pathophysiological, proteomic and transcriptomic profiling have been applied to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Metabolic traits, already used in QTL studies in plants, are essential phenotypes in mammalian genetics to define disease biomarkers. Using a complex mammalian system, here we show chromosomal mapping of untargeted plasma metabolic fingerprints derived from NMR spectroscopic analysis in a cross between diabetic and control rats. We propose candidate metabolites for the most significant QTLs. Metabolite profiling in congenic strains provided evidence of QTL replication. Linkage to a gut microbial metabolite (benzoate) can be explained by deletion of a uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase. Mapping metabotypic QTLs provides a practical approach to understanding genome-phenotype relationships in mammals and may uncover deeper biological complexity, as extended genome (microbiome) perturbations that affect disease processes through transgenomic effects may influence QTL detection.
    Nature Genetics 06/2007; 39(5):666-72. · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here, we study the intricate relationship between gut microbiota and host cometabolic phenotypes associated with dietary-induced impaired glucose homeostasis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in a mouse strain (129S6) known to be susceptible to these disease traits, using plasma and urine metabotyping, achieved by (1)H NMR spectroscopy. Multivariate statistical modeling of the spectra shows that the genetic predisposition of the 129S6 mouse to impaired glucose homeostasis and NAFLD is associated with disruptions of choline metabolism, i.e., low circulating levels of plasma phosphatidylcholine and high urinary excretion of methylamines (dimethylamine, trimethylamine, and trimethylamine-N-oxide), coprocessed by symbiotic gut microbiota and mammalian enzyme systems. Conversion of choline into methylamines by microbiota in strain 129S6 on a high-fat diet reduces the bioavailability of choline and mimics the effect of choline-deficient diets, causing NAFLD. These data also indicate that gut microbiota may play an active role in the development of insulin resistance.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2006; 103(33):12511-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

469 Citations
66.36 Total Impact Points


  • 2006–2013
    • University of Oxford
      • Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • 2007
    • Imperial College London
      • Section of Computational and Systems Medicine (CSM)
      London, ENG, United Kingdom