First use of triply labelled water analysis for energy expenditure measurements in mice

Xing Wang, Dehuang Kong, Gertjan van Dijk, Harro A J Meijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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The doubly labelled water (DLW) method is widely used to determine energy expenditure. In this work, we demonstrate the addition of the third stable isotope, 17O, to turn it into triply labelled water (TLW), using the three isotopes measurement of optical spectrometry. We performed TLW (2H, 18O and17O) measurements for the analysis of the CO2 production (rCO2) of mice on different diets for the first time. Triply highly enriched water was injected into mice, and the isotope enrichments of the distilled blood samples of one initial and two finals were measured by an off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy instrument. We evaluated the impact of different calculation protocols and the values of evaporative water loss fraction. We found that the dilution space and turnover rates of 17O and 18O were equal for the same mice group, and that values of rCO2 calculated based on 18O–2H, or on 17O–2H agreed very well. This increases the reliability and redundancy of the measurements and it lowers the uncertainty in the calculated rCO2 to 3% when taking the average of two DLW methods. However, the TLW method overestimated the rCO2 compared to the indirect calorimetry measurements that we also performed, much more for the mice on a high-fat diet than for low-fat. We hypothesize an extra loss or exchange mechanism with a high fractionation for 2H to explain this difference.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6351
Number of pages15
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date15-Apr-2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022


  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Deuterium/analysis
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Mice
  • Oxygen Isotopes/analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Water

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