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Healthy fats improve nerve function in obese mice

Data support further investigation of diets rich in monounsaturated fats as potential treatment for common diabetes complication

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: Figure 1D. A MUFA-rich diet reverses neuropathy in prediabetic mice. view more 

Credit: Rumora et al., JNeurosci (2019)

Swapping dietary saturated fats for monounsaturated fats reverses nerve damage and restores nerve function in male mice, finds new preclinical research published in JNeurosci. These data support further investigation of diets rich in healthy fats as a potential treatment for the nerve damage that occurs with diabetes, known as diabetic neuropathy.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with high-fat diets characterized by large amounts of saturated fats. In contrast, monounsaturated fatty acid-rich diets have been shown to have health benefits. Professor Eva Feldman and colleagues at the University of Michigan investigated how these two types of fats affect the progression of diabetic neuropathy, the most common complication of diabetes.

The researchers found switching mice from a saturated fat-based diet to a diet rich in monounsaturated fats derived from sunflower oil restored and protected nerve function in obese mice. Studying the beneficial effects of monounsaturated fats in sensory dorsal root ganglion neurons showed the intervention helped the cells maintain normal energy production.

These results suggest that interventions targeting dietary fats may provide a new therapeutic avenue for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

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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