Chloé Boitard, Guillaume Ferreira et al. inThe J of N

Juvenile obesity and emotional memory

April 8, 2015

Juvenile Obesity Enhances Emotional Memory and Amygdala Plasticity through Glucocorticoids.
Boitard C, Maroun M, Tantot F, Cavaroc A, Sauvant J, Marchand A, Layé S, Capuron L, Darnaudery M, Castanon N, Coutureau E, Vouimba RM, Ferreira G.
J Neurosci. 2015 Mar 4;35(9):4092-103. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3122-14.2015.

Guillaume Ferreira :

Juvenile obesity and emotional memory

Obesity is associated with adverse cognitive and emotional outcomes. The growing prevalence of obesity during childhood and adolescence is particularly alarming as these periods shape the neurobehavioral processes required for life-long cognitive and emotional functions. However until recently the existence of critical periods of development that differs in terms of sensitivity to the effects of obesogenic diets on memory remained unexplored.

We have recently reported that, whereas juvenile and adult consumption of high-fat diet (HFD) diet induced similar weight gain and metabolic changes, only juvenile HFD exposure impaired both hippocampal-dependent memory and hippocampal plasticity (Boitard et al., 2012; 2014). In the recent published paper (Boitard et al., 2015), we explored the impact of juvenile HFD intake on amygdala, another memory system involved in cue-based emotional memory and not previously investigated in the context of juvenile obesity. Using a combination of different behavioral, endocrine and neurobiological approaches we showed that juvenile, but not adult, HFD consumption enhanced both amygdala-dependent aversive memory and amygdala plasticity. In addition we identified alterations of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis as one of the mechanisms by which juvenile HFD intake induced such amygdala alterations. Our results stressed that adolescence is a critical period of development with higher sensitivity to the effects of HFD on memory.

Moreover, they demonstrate that juvenile obesity bidirectionally affects the memory systems investigated, impairing hippocampal function and enhancing amygdala function. Altogether these results suggest that obesity during adolescence predisposes to later maladaptive cognitive and emotional functions. This is a major concern as it could induce a significant impairment in quality of life of these individuals and contribute considerably to their social and occupational dysfunction.


Boitard C., Maroun M., Tantot F., Cavaroc A., Sauvant J., Marchand A., Layé S., Capuron L., Darnaudery M., Castanon N., Coutureau E., Vouimba R.M. & Ferreira G. (2015). Juvenile obesity exacerbates emotional memory and amygdala plasticity through glucocorticoids. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35(9):4092– 4103.

Boitard C, Cavaroc A, Sauvant J, Aubert A, Castanon N, Layé S & Ferreira G (2014). Impairment of hippocampal-dependent memory induced by juvenile high-fat diet intake is associated with enhanced hippocampal inflammation in rats. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 40: 9-17.

Boitard C., Etchamendi N., Sauvant J., Aubert A., Tronel S., Marighetto A., Layé S. & Ferreira G. (2012). Juvenile, but not adult, exposure to high-fat diet impairs relational memory and hippocampal neurogenesis in mice. Hippocampus, 22: 2095 –2100.


Guillaume Ferreira – PhD Lab Nutrition et Neurobiologie Integrée (NutriNeuro) INRA UMR 1286 – Université de Bordeaux

1ère Auteure

Chloé Boitard
Première au concours de l’école doctorale de Bordeaux en 2010, elle a obtenu une bourse de prolongement / soudure LabEx BRAIN (2013-2014) et a reçu le prix de thèse en 2014.

Thèse 2013

Prix de thèse 2014


Dernière mise à jour le 09.04.2015