M. Darnaudery, S. Layé et al. inPsychoneuroendo

Perinatal high-fat diet increases hippocampal vulnerability to the adverse effects of subsequent high-fat feeding.

Le 24 mars 2015

Perinatal high-fat diet increases hippocampal vulnerability to the adverse effects of subsequent high-fat feeding.  Lépinay AL, Larrieu T, Joffre C, Acar N, Gárate I, Castanon N, Ferreira G, Langelier B, Guesnet P, Brétillon L, Parnet P, Layé S*, Darnaudéry M*. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Mar;53:82-93. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.12.008. Epub 2014 Dec 15. *contributed equally


Epidemiological observations report an increase in fat consumption associated with low intake of n-3 relative to n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in women of childbearing age. However, the impact of these maternal feeding habits on cognitive function in the offspring is unknown. This study aims to investigate the impact of early exposure to a high-fat diet (HFD) with an unbalanced n-6/n-3 ratio on hippocampal function in adult rats. Dams were fed a control diet (C, 12% of energy from lipids, n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio: 5) or HFD (HF, 39% of energy from lipids, n-6/n-3 ratio: 39) throughout gestation and lactation. At weaning, offspring were placed either on control or HFD diets. Perinatal HFD induced long-lasting metabolic alterations and changes in gene expression in the hippocampus, but had no effect on memory. In contrast, spatial memory was impaired in adult animals exposed to HFD during the perinatal period and maintained on this diet. These rats also exhibited low n-3 but high n-6 PUFA levels, decreased neurogenesis and downregulated expression of several plasticity-related genes in the hippocampus. In order to determine the contribution of the perinatal diet to the memory deficits reported in this group, an additional experiment was conducted in which rats were only exposed to HFD starting at weaning. Interestingly, HFD limited to adulthood induced similar metabolic alterations to lifelong exposure, but had no impact on spatial memory performance. In conclusion, we have shown here that independent of maternal obesity, perinatal exposure to HFD affects gene expression and astrocyte morphology in the hippocampus and can sensitize the brain to alterations of hippocampus-dependent memory when HFD is maintained throughout life.

These data provide evidence that early nutrition can have long-lasting effects on the hippocampus, especially when combined with unhealthy eating habits later in life.

Muriel.Darnaudery(at)u-bordeaux.fr
Lab NutriNeurO, UMR INRA 1286, 146 rue Léo Saignat, Case 34, 33076 Bordeaux cedex, France.

Last update: 26.03.2015

09/04/18