Unraveling the Host Genetic Background Effect on Internal Organ Weight Influenced by Obesity and Diabetes Using Collaborative Cross Mice

Aya Ghnaim, Iqbal M. Lone, Nadav Ben Nun, Fuad A. Iraqi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a severe chronic epidemic that results from the body’s improper usage of the hormone insulin. Globally, 700 million people are expected to have received a diabetes diagnosis by 2045, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Cancer and macro- and microvascular illnesses are only a few immediate and long-term issues it could lead to. T2DM accelerates the effect of organ weights by triggering a hyperinflammatory response in the body’s organs, inhibiting tissue repair and resolving inflammation. Understanding how genetic variation translates into different clinical presentations may highlight the mechanisms through which dietary elements may initiate or accelerate inflammatory disease processes and suggest potential disease-prevention techniques. To address the host genetic background effect on the organ weight by utilizing the newly developed mouse model, the Collaborative Cross mice (CC). The study was conducted on 207 genetically different CC mice from 8 CC lines of both sexes. The experiment started with 8-week-old mice for 12 weeks. During this period, one group maintained a standard chow diet (CHD), while the other group maintained a high-fat diet (HFD). In addition, body weight was recorded bi-weekly, and at the end of the study, a glucose tolerance test, as well as tissue collection (liver, spleen, heart), were conducted. Our study observed a strong effect of HFD on blood glucose clearance among different CC lines. The HFD decreased the blood glucose clearance displayed by the significant Area Under Curve (AUC) values in both populations. In addition, variation in body weight changes among the different CC lines in response to HFD. The female liver weight significantly increased compared to males in the overall population when exposed to HFD. Moreover, males showed higher heritability values than females on the same diet. Regardless of the dietary challenge, the liver weight in the overall male population correlated positively with the final body weight. The liver weight results revealed that three different CC lines perform well under classification models. The regression results also varied among organs. Accordingly, the differences among these lines correspond to the genetic variance, and we suspect that some genetic factors invoke different body responses to HFD. Further investigations, such as quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis and genomic studies, could find these genetic elements. These findings would prove critical factors for developing personalized medicine, as they could indicate future body responses to numerous situations early, thus preventing the development of complex diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8201
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Collaborative Cross mice
  • genetic effect
  • heritability
  • high fat diet effect on organs’ weight
  • machine learning
  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)


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