Epidemiologic studies have indicated that dyslipidemia may facilitate the progression of neuronal degeneration. However, the effects of chronic dyslipidemia on brain function, especially in older individuals, remain unclear. In this study, middle-aged 37-week-old male Wistar-Kyoto rats were fed a normal diet (ND) or a 45% high-fat diet (HFD) for 30 weeks (i.e., until 67 weeks of age). To study the effects of chronic dyslipidemia on the brain, we analyzed spontaneous locomotor activity, cognitive function, and brain tissues in both groups of rats after 30 weeks. Compared with age-matched rats fed a ND, Wistar-Kyoto rats fed a HFD had dyslipidemia and showed decreased movement but normal recognition of a novel object. In our brain analyses, we observed a significant decrease in astrocytes and tyrosine hydroxylase–containing neurons in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus of rats fed a HFD compared with rats fed a ND. However, hippocampal pyramidal neurons were not affected. Our findings indicate that the long-term consumption of a HFD may cause lipid metabolism overload in the brain and damage to glial cells. The decrease in astrocytes may lead to reduced protection of the brain and affect the survival of tyrosine hydroxylase–containing neurons but not pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- 生物化學、遺傳與分子生物學 (全部)