Impact of dietary fats on brain functions

Rosanna Chianese, Roberto Coccurello, Andrea Viggiano, Marika Scafuro, Marco Fiore, Giangennaro Coppola, Francesca Felicia Operto, Silvia Fasano, Sophie Laye, Riccardo Pierantoni, Rosaria Meccariello
CN. 2018-07-12; 16(7): 1059-1085
DOI: 10.2174/1570159X15666171017102547

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1. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2018;16(7):1059-1085. doi:

Impact of Dietary Fats on Brain Functions.

Chianese R(1), Coccurello R(2)(3), Viggiano A(4), Scafuro M(1), Fiore M(2)(3),
Coppola G(4)(5), Operto FF(5), Fasano S(1), Laye S(6), Pierantoni R(1),
Meccariello R(7).

Author information:
(1)Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania « Luigi
Vanvitelli », Naples, Italy.
(2)Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, National Research Council
(C.N.R.), Rome, Italy.
(3)Fondazione S. Lucia (FSL) IRCCS, Roma, Italy.
(4)Department of Medicine, Surgery and Scuola Medica Salernitana, University of
Salerno, Baronissi, SA, Italy.
(5)UO Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, Medical School, University of
Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
(6)INRA, Bordeaux University, Nutrition and Integrative Neurobiology, UMR,
Bordeaux, France.
(7)Department of Movement and Wellness Sciences, Parthenope University of Naples,
Naples, Italy.

BACKGROUND: Adequate dietary intake and nutritional status have important effects
on brain functions and on brain health. Energy intake and specific nutrients
excess or deficiency from diet differently affect cognitive processes, emotions,
behaviour, neuroendocrine functions and synaptic plasticity with possible
protective or detrimental effects on neuronal physiology. Lipids, in particular,
play structural and functional roles in neurons. Here the importance of dietary
fats and the need to understand the brain mechanisms activated by peripheral and
central metabolic sensors. Thus, the manipulation of lifestyle factors such as
dietary interventions may represent a successful therapeutic approach to maintain
and preserve brain health along lifespan.
METHODS: This review aims at summarizing the impact of dietary fats on brain
RESULTS: Starting from fat consumption, nutrient sensing and food-related reward,
the impact of gut-brain communications will be discussed in brain health and
disease. A specific focus will be on the impact of fats on the molecular pathways
within the hypothalamus involved in the control of reproduction via the
expression and the release of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone. Lastly, the effects
of specific lipid classes such as polyunsaturated fatty acids and of the
« fattest » of all diets, commonly known as « ketogenic diets », on brain functions
will also be discussed.
CONCLUSION: Despite the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms is still a work in
progress, the clinical relevance of the manipulation of dietary fats is well
acknowledged and such manipulations are in fact currently in use for the
treatment of brain diseases.

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DOI: 10.2174/1570159X15666171017102547
PMCID: PMC6120115
PMID: 29046155 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus