Saccharin increases fasting blood glucose but not liver insulin resistance in comparison to a high fructose-fed rat model

Avshalom Leibowitz*, Ariel Bier, Mayan Gilboa, Edna Peleg, Iris Barshack, Grossman Ehud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent data indicate that artificial sweeteners (AS) may have deleterious effects on glucose metabolism. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of AS and the effects of a high fructose diet (HFrD) on glucose metabolism and insulin resistance (IR) in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. SD rats were fed either regular chow, chow with saccharin (Sac) (0.1 mg/mL) placed in their water, or HFrD for seven weeks. Glucose, insulin, and triglycerides (Tg) levels were measured upon completion. A homeostatic model assessment (HOMA)-IR index was used to determine insulin resistance. The liver was stained to detect signs of a fatty liver. Hepatic mRNA expression of glucose metabolism regulation genes, Srepb-1c (sterol regulatory element binding protein) and ChREB (α & β) (carbohydrate response element binding protein), as well as other glycolytic and lipogenic genes including glucose-6-phosphatase (G6pc), were considered IR markers. Both HFrD and Sac significantly increased fasting blood glucose levels compare to the control (140 ± 5 and 137 ± 6 vs. 118 ± 3 mg/dL, respectively, p < 0.05). However, only HFrD increased insulin secretion (0.99 ± 0.12 vs. 0.7 ± 0.1 and 0.6 ± 0.1 ug/L), Tg levels (420 ± 43 vs. 152 ± 20 and 127 ± 13 mg/dL), and the HOMA-IR index (3.4 ± 0.4 vs. 2.3 ± 0.36 and 2.13 ± 0.3) (HFrD vs. control and sac, p < 0.05). Fatty liver changes were only observed in HFrD fed rats. The expression of ChREB β, Srepb-1c, and G6pc mRNA were only significantly elevated (between 2-10 times folds, p < 0.05) in HFrD fed rats. Sac may increase fasting blood glucose but has no effect on liver insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number341
Issue number3
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2018


  • Fatty liver
  • Fructose
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Saccharin


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