Inactivity induces increases in abdominal fat

Matthew J. Laye, John P. Thyfault, Craig S. Stump, Frank W. Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Previously, inducing inactivity for 53 h after 21 days of voluntary running resulted in a 25 and 48% increase in epididymal and omental fat pad weights, respectively, while rats continued to eat more than a group that never had access to a running wheel (J Physiol 565: 911-925, 2005). We wanted to test the hypothesis that inactivity, independent of excessive caloric intake, could induce an increase in fat pad mass. Twenty-one-day-old rats were given access to voluntary running wheels for 42-43 days so that they were running ∼9 km/day in the last week of running, after which wheels were locked for 5, 53, or 173 h (WL5, WL53, WL173) before the rats were killed. During the 53 and 173 h of inactivity, one group of animals was pair fed (PF) to match sedentary controls, whereas the other continued to eat ad libitum (AL). Epididymal and retroperitoneal fat masses were significantly increased in the WL173-PF vs. the WL5 group, whereas epididymal, perirenal, and retroperitoneal fat masses were all significantly increased in the WL173-AL group compared with the WL5 group. Additionally, hyperplasia, and not hypertrophy, of the epididymal fat mass was responsible for the increase at WL173-AL as demonstrated by a significant increase in cell number vs. WL5, with no change in cell diameter or volume. Thus two important findings have been elucidated: 1) increases in measured abdominal fat masses occur in both AL and PF groups at WL173, and 2) adipocyte expansion via hyperplasia occurred with an ad libitum diet following cessation of voluntary running.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1347
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Exercise
  • Food
  • Hyperplasia
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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