The nuclear factor (NF)-κB is a primary regulator of inflammatory responses and may be linked to pathology associated with obesity. We investigated the progression of NF-κB activity during a 12-week feeding period on a high-fat diet (HFD) or a low-fat diet (LFD) using NF-κB luciferase reporter mice. In vivo imaging of luciferase activity showed that NF-κB activity was higher in the HFD mice compared with LFD-fed mice. Thorax region of HFD females displayed fourfold higher activity compared with LFD females, while no such increase was evident in males. In male HFD mice, abdominal NF-κB activity was increased twofold compared with the LFD males, while females had unchanged NF-κB activity in the abdomen by HFD. HFD males, but not females, exhibited evident glucose intolerance during the study. In conclusion, HFD increased NF-κB activity in both female and male mice. However, HFD differentially increased activity in males and females. The moderate increase in abdomen of male mice may be linked to glucose intolerance. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.