Obesity is reaching pandemic proportions in Western society. It has resulted in increasing health care burden and decreasing life expectancy. Obesity is a complex, chronic disease, involving decades of pathophysiological changes and adaptation. Therefore, it is difficult ascertain the exact mechanisms for this long-term process in humans. To circumvent some of these issues, several surrogate models are available, including murine genetic loss-of-function mutations, transgenic gain-of-function mutations, polygenic models, and different environmental exposure models. The mouse model of diet-induced obesity has become one of the most important tools for understanding the interplay of high-fat Western diets and the development of obesity. This model has lead to many discoveries of the important signalings in obesity, such as Akt and mTOR.
Thank you for visiting nature. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. Many scientists use rodents as convenient models to dissect aspects of physiology and body-weight control that would not be feasible in humans, such as invasive and terminal investigations. At present there is a range of commercial high-fat diets available that have been demonstrated to make small rodents obese. However, some of these diets contain levels of dietary fat that are much higher than the levels that humans routinely consume. The question has been raised as to whether experimental use of these diets with very high levels of fat adequately models the situation of human obesity. If not, the question arises whether the IJO should continue to accept such papers for publication. This short editorial summarises those responses. Several of the responses came from clinical scientists with no direct experience of performing work on rodents. Together they all reinforced the view that if rodent models can be made more closely to mimic what happens in humans then it is likely that the insights following from such work will be enhanced. There was also a strong feeling, however, that while the journal might advise what they think is best, they should not impose a ban on future papers for these methodological reasons.
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