Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, a viscous soluble fiber, reduces insulin resistance and decreases fatty liver in Zucker Diabetic Fatty rats

David A. Brockman, Xiaoli Chen, Daniel D. Gallaher

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32 Scopus citations


Background: Diets producing a high glycemic response result in exaggerated insulin secretion which induces hepatic lipogenesis, contributing to development of insulin resistance and fatty liver. Viscous dietary fibers blunt the postprandial rise in blood glucose, however their effect on type 2 diabetes and obesity are not entirely known. This study examined the effect of chronic consumption of the viscous, non-fermentable dietary fiber, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), on glucose control, insulin resistance and liver lipids in an obese diabetic rat model. Methods: Three groups of Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats were fed diets containing either 5% non-viscous cellulose (control), low viscosity HPMC (LV-HPMC) or high viscosity HPMC (HV-HPMC) for six weeks. Zucker lean littermates consuming cellulose served as a negative control. Markers of glucose control, including oral glucose tolerance test, glycated hemoglobin and urinary glucose, were measured as well as adiposity and the accumulation of liver lipids. Results: The HPMC diets increased the viscosity of the small intestinal contents and reduced the postprandial rise in blood glucose. The food efficiency ratio was greater with HPMC feeding compared to the obese control and urinary excretion of glucose and ketone bodies was reduced. The two HPMC groups had lower glycated hemoglobin and kidney weights and a reduced area under the curve during a glucose tolerance test, indicating improved glucose control. Epididymal fat pad weight as percent of body weight was reduced in the HV-HPMC group compared to the obese control group. The HV-HPMC group also had lower concentrations of liver lipid and cholesterol and reduced liver weight. However, HV-HPMC feeding did not affect hepatic gene expression of SREBP-1c or FAS. Muscle concentration of acylcarnitines, a lipid intermediate in fatty acid β-oxidation, was not different between the HPMC groups and obese control, suggesting no change in muscle fatty acid oxidation by HPMC. Conclusions: Consumption of the viscous non-fermentable fiber HPMC decreased diabetic wasting, improved glucose control and reduced insulin resistance and fatty liver in a model of obesity with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalNutrition and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 12 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Nghia Le for liver extraction and lipid and cholesterol analysis and Ana Carla Gilberto dos Santos for urinary TBARS analysis. This work was supported by the University of Minnesota College of Human Ecology Legacy Funds and the Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 Brockman et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


  • Acylcarnitines
  • Adiposity
  • Dietary fiber
  • Fatty liver
  • Insulin resistance
  • Viscosity


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