A four-week high fat diet does not alter plasma glucose or metabolic physiology in wild-caught mourning doves (Zenaida macroura)

Anthony J. Basile, Alex E. Mohr, Paniz Jasbi, Haiwei Gu, Pierre Deviche, Karen L. Sweazea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to determine the metabolic effects of a four-week 60% high-fat (HF) diet on mourning doves. Plasma glucose concentrations are, on average, 1.5–2 times higher in birds than in mammals of similar body mass, but birds have innate mechanisms that protect them from high blood glucose-associated pathologies normally developed in mammals. Elucidating these mechanisms may help develop therapeutics for treatment of human diabetes-related complications. A high fat (HF) diet is commonly used in rodents to investigate metabolic disease. We hypothesized that this diet in doves would elevate plasma glucose and alter metabolic physiology compared to the control (CON) diet. Following the four-week long diets, doves were euthanized, and we collected blood, liver, pectoralis muscles, and kidney samples. Contrary to the rodent-models, HF-fed birds did not have increased plasma glucose concentrations relative to CON-fed birds. Metabolomic analyses revealed no group differences in plasma, liver, pectoralis muscle, or kidney metabolites (FDR q-value>0.05 for all). Principal component analysis score plots of metabolites showed no separation between groups, and pathway analyses revealed no significantly altered metabolic pathways between groups (191 pathways across tissues, FDR q-value>0.05). Body mass, plasma uric acid, glucose, and insulin as well as liver and pectoralis muscle glycogen and triglycerides did not differ between groups (p > 0.05 for all). In conclusion, a four-week long high fat diet did not alter plasma glucose concentrations or metabolic physiology in mourning doves, indicating that these birds have mechanisms that allow them to avoid high fat diet-induced pathologies seen in mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110820
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Avian
  • Diabetes
  • High-fat diet
  • Metabolomics
  • Negative model
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology


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