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Physiological Changes Following Acute Weight Gain and Loss in Cats

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Introduction: Prevalence of obesity is increasing in cats as in humans. As obesity is a risk factor for severe metabolic disorders such as diabetes and hyperlipidemia, early detection and prevention of overweightness and obesity are valuable. Development of new diagnostic markers is useful for early detection for obesity in animals.

Objects: Body Condition Score (BCS) is commonly used to evaluate weight status in veterinary medicine, but it can be subjective and may not accurately reflect the true metabolic status of an animal. To evaluate the usefulness of metabolome, hormone, and enzyme markers as the indicators for early obesity, changes in various parameters were measured during the experimentally induced acute weight gain and loss in cats and their correlations to the changes in BCS and body weight (BW) were closely analyzed.

Methods: 6 healthy mixed-breed cats were used and fed highfat diet and restricted-calorie diet to induce acute weight gain and weight loss respectively. Changes in BW, BCS and plasma levels of metabolome, hormones, enzyme parameters, and adipokines were measured during the weight gain and loss periods.

Results: Significant elevations associated with weight gain were seen in Triglyceride (TG), Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), adiponectin, Malondialdehyde (MDA) in cats. Highest BCS was associated with the highest values of Triglyceride (TG), Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST), adiponectin, and with the lowest values of TNFα.

Conclusion: The results suggest that acute weight gain and high BCS in cats may not necessarily be pathological as long as adiponectin and anti-oxidant protection of the body are in effect. At an early phase of acute weight gain, body’s protection against pro-inflammatory and oxidative effects of adiposity remain functional, keeping overweight individuals metabolically healthy even at high BCS.