Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014, Article ID 690950, 9 pages
Research Article

Metabolic Effects of Social Isolation in Adult C57BL/6 Mice

1Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, 912 Biomedical Research Tower, 460 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2Functional Genomics and Translational Neuroscience Lab, Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

Received 27 August 2014; Accepted 23 October 2014; Published 26 November 2014

Academic Editor: Isabel C. F. R. Ferreira

Copyright © 2014 Meng Sun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Obesity and metabolic dysfunction are risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancers. Both animal studies and human population-based and clinical studies have suggested that chronic stress is a risk factor for metabolic disorders. A good social support system is known to exert positive effects on the mental and physical well-being of an individual. On the other hand, long-term deprivation of social contacts may represent a stressful condition that has negative effects on health. In the present study, we investigated the effects of chronic social isolation on metabolic parameters in adult C57BL/6 mice. We found that individually housed mice had increased adipose mass compared to group-housed mice, despite comparable body weight. The mechanism for the expansion of white adipose tissue mass was depot-specific. Notably, food intake was reduced in the social isolated animals, which occurred around the light-dark phase transition periods. Similarly, reductions in heat generated and the respiratory exchange ratio were observed during the light-dark transitions. These phase-specific changes due to long-term social isolation have not been reported previously. Our study shows social isolation contributes to increased adiposity and altered metabolic functions.