Mice fed long-term high-fat diets (HFD) are an established model for human metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes. However, also the effects of short-term HFD feeding should be investigated to understand which are the first events that trigger the onset of a pre-disease condition, the so-called metabolic syndrome, that increases the risk of developing clinical diseases. In this study, C57BL/6N mice were fed a control diet (CTR) or a HFD for 1 (T1) or 2 weeks (T2). Metabolic and histological effects were examined. Cecum transcriptomes of HFD and CTR mice were compared at T2 by microarray analysis. Differentially expressed genes were validated by real-time PCR in the cecum and in the liver. After 2 weeks of diet administration, HFD mice showed an altered expression pattern in only seven genes, four of which are involved in the circadian clock regulatory pathway. Real-time PCR confirmed microarray results of the cecum and revealed the same trend of clock gene expression changes in the liver. These findings suggest that clock genes may play an important role in early controlling gut output systems in response to HFD in mice and that their expression change may also represent an early signaling of the development of an intestinal pro-inflammatory status. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.