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Caloric restriction and Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass promote white adipose tissue browning in mice



Caloric restriction (CR) and Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) are considered effective means of body weight control, but the mechanism by which CR and RYGB protect against high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity remains elusive. The browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) is a potential approach to combat obesity. Here we assess whether browning of WAT is involved in CR- and RYGB-treatment.


The average size of adipocytes was determined by histological analysis. Expression of thermogenic genes in both human subjects and mice were measured by quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemical staining.


The average size of adipocytes was bigger, while the expression of thermogenic genes such as uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), nuclear factor erythroid-2 like 1 (NRF1) and PPARγ coactivator-1 α (PGC1α) were lower in the WAT of obese subjects when compared to lean controls. Both CR and RYGB promoted weight and fat loss. Increment of the average adipocytes size and down-regulation of thermogenic genes were significantly reversed by both CR and RYGB in the WAT of obese mice.


Our findings showed that CR and RYGB significantly improved high-fat diet-induced lipid accumulation by promoting the browning of WAT.

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Data availability

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

Code availability

Not applicable.



Caloric restriction


Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass


White adipose tissue


Brown adipose tissue


Uncoupling protein 1


Nuclear factor erythroid-2 like-1


PPARγ coactivator-1 α


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This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81770794, 314010010), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (21620423).

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Authors and Affiliations



GX designed research; DH, ZZ, RL and JH performed research; GX, ZD analyzed data; GX, ZD, DH and ZZ wrote and edited the paper. All authors contributed to the discussion and revised the article and all approved the final versions of the manuscript. GX is responsible for the integrity of the work as a whole.

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Correspondence to G. Xu.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

Participation in this study was voluntary and written informed consent was obtained from each participant. The guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki of the World Medical Association were followed. All protocols were approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

Animals used in this study were handled in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH Publications No. 8023, revised 1978). All animal protocols were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of Jinan University.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The authors affirm that human research participants provided informed consent for publication of the images in Figs. 1 and 2.

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Huang, D., Zhang, Z., Dong, Z. et al. Caloric restriction and Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass promote white adipose tissue browning in mice. J Endocrinol Invest 45, 139–148 (2022).

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  • Obesity
  • Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
  • Caloric restriction
  • Browning