News Release

High fat diet impairs new neuron creation in female mice

Sex differences in adult neurogenesis may underlie dementia risk for women

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Society for Neuroscience

High Fat Diet Impairs New Neuron Creation in Female Mice

image: Female mice on the high fat diet displayed fewer developing neurons in the hippocampus. view more 

Credit: Robison et al., eNeuro 2019

A high fat diet limits the birth and growth of new neurons in adult female, but not male, mice, according to new research published in eNeuro. Further research could inspire metabolism-based preventions and treatments for brain disorders.

Metabolic disorders like obesity and type 2 diabetes are associated with an increased risk for brain disorders ranging from depression to Alzheimer's disease. The birth and development of new neurons - adult neurogenesis - may be a link between these two types of conditions. The hippocampus, an area of the brain implicated in memory and emotional processes, is a known site of adult neurogenesis.

Robison et al. fed one group of mice a high fat diet and another group a normal diet for eighteen weeks. The high fat diet caused weight gain and high blood sugar in both male and female mice, however, only female mice experienced impaired neurogenesis in the hippocampus. The female mice on the high fat diet had fewer newborn and developing neurons, while male mice on the high fat diet had the same number of new neurons as the control mice. This finding offers additional insight into why women are more at risk for greater cognitive decline during Alzheimer's disease and depression.


Manuscript title: High Fat Diet-Induced Obesity Causes Sex-Specific Deficits in Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Mice

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About eNeuro

eNeuro is an online, open-access journal published by the Society for Neuroscience. Established in 2014, eNeuro publishes a wide variety of content, including research articles, short reports, reviews, commentaries and opinions.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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