Soy protein and isoflavones influence adiposity and development of metabolic syndrome in the obese male ZDF rat

Jeremy Davis, Allan Higginbotham, Timothy O'Connor, Naima Moustaid-Moussa, Adam Tebbe, Young Cheul Kim, Kae Won Cho, Neil Shay, Stuart Adler, Richard Peterson, William Banz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Previously, we demonstrated that soy protein ameliorates the diabetic phenotype in several rodent models of obesity and metabolic syndrome (MS). This study was designed to further elucidate factors related to adiposity, glycemic control, and renal function in male Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF/Leprfa) rats. Methods: Animals were randomly assigned to one of four diets: control, casein (C); low isoflavone (LIS) soy protein; high isoflavone (HIS) soy protein, or casein + rosiglitazone (CR) for 11 weeks. At sacrifice, physiological, biochemical, and molecular parameters were determined. Results: Body weight and total adiposity were higher in LIS and CR diet groups despite lower food intake. Additionally, these animals exhibited differential regulation of adipose-specific proteins (PPAR-γ and GLUT4) and enzyme activity (FAS and GPDH). HIS-fed animals had reduced total and liver adiposity. Glycemic control was prolonged in both soy-based and rosiglitazone (RGZ) groups. Renal dysfunction was significantly reduced in soy-fed and RGZ-treated rodents as demonstrated by lower levels of proteinuria and dilated tubules with proteinaceous casts. Conclusion: Collectively, these data provide evidence that soy protein with low or high isoflavone content may have therapeutic significance in reducing severity of diabetes, MS, and renal disease as demonstrated in this preclinical model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Adiposity
  • Isoflavone content
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Soy protein
  • Zucker Diabetic Fatty rats


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