Ageing is associated with an increase in visceral obesity in men and women. Although wild-type mice with a C57Bl/6 genetic background are extensively used in studies on obesity and metabolism, little information is available on age-associated changes in their adipose tissues. We have evaluated development and composition of subcutaneous (SC) and gonadal (GON) adipose tissue in male C57Bl/6 mice at the ages of 10 weeks, 12 months or 24 months, while kept on normal chow. Total body weight as well as SC and GON fat mass significantly increased between 10 weeks and 12 months, but markedly decreased again up to 24 months of age. Adipocyte size in both fat depots and blood vessel size in GON fat followed this trend. Plasma leptin levels correlated positively with body weight and SC or GON fat mass. Both 12 and 24 months old mice displayed better insulin sensitivity as compared to 10 weeks old counterparts, reflected by significantly decreased plasma levels of insulin and/or glucose. Thus, ageing of C57Bl/6 male mice is associated with a biphasic pattern (increase up to 12 months followed by a decrease up to 24 months) of body weight, SC and GON fat mass, adipocyte and blood vessel size.
The Japan Endocrine Society