An Overview of Rodent Models of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

  • Thomas A. LutzEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2128)


Many animal models that are currently used in appetite and obesity research share at least some main features of human obesity and its comorbidities. Hence, even though no animal model replicates all aspects of “common” human obesity, animal models are imperative in studying the control of energy balance and reasons for its imbalance that may eventually lead to overt obesity. The most frequently used animal models are small rodents that may be based on mutations or manipulations of individual or several genes and on the exposure to obesogenic diets or other manipulations that predispose the animals to gaining or maintaining excessive weight. Characteristics include hyperphagia or changes in energy metabolism and at least in some models the frequent comorbidities of obesity, like hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, or diabetes-like syndromes. Some of the most frequently used animal models of obesity research involve animals with monogenic mutations of the leptin pathway which in fact are useful to study specific mechanistic aspects of eating controls, but typically do not recapitulate “common” obesity in the human population. Hence, this review will mention advantages and disadvantages of respective animal models in order to build a basis for the most appropriate use in biomedical research.

Key words

Monogenetic models Polygenetic models Surgical models Diabetes mellitus 



I gratefully acknowledge the financial support from many funding sources that helped me perform my research with some of the animal models mentioned here, in particular the Swiss National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the EU Frame Program 7, and the University of Zurich.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Veterinary PhysiologyVetsuisse Faculty University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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