OCT 25, 2021 6:03 AM PDT

How Fat Cells May Influence Cognitive Decline

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Some research has indicated that a Western diet, which is high in processed foods, sugars, and fats, may be contributing to dementia or cognitive decline. This diet is thought to cause the release of inflammatory molecules that can damage the central nervous system. Neurons are known to express receptors for excitatory or inflammatory molecules that are expressed by fat cells. New research has suggested that the Western diet is promoting a feedback loop that raises the level of oxidants, leading to neurodegeneration. This latest study, which was reported in iScience, has used a mouse model to assess the impact of fat cells on brain function.

Image credit: Pixabay
 
In this work, when a mouse model was fed a western diet, there was an increase in the activation of membrane-bound pump called Na,K-ATPase in the brain and peripheral tissues of that model. That was associated with neurodegeneration. Previous work by this team has shown that Na,K-ATPase has an influence on oxidant stress.

The researchers also found that obesity was reduced in mice that were genetically engineered to release a synthetic molecule called NaKtide in their fat cells, which deactivates Na,K-ATPase. The release of that synthetic molecule was also associated with a reversal in the biochemical changes in the brains of these mice that are linked to neurodegeneration, and a reduction in the level of inflammatory cytokines in their circulation. This research has suggested that fat cells can impact cognition and neurodegeneration, and that it could be possible to treat this neurodegeneration by targeting Na,K-ATPase.

“We have aimed to demonstrate that Na,K-ATPase signaling, specifically in adipocytes, play a central role in inducing alterations in specific regions of the brain, most notably in the hippocampus, which is critical to memory and cognitive function,” said senior author Joseph I Shapiro, M.D., professor and dean of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

A Western diet can cause oxidant stress and changes in fat due to "Na,K-ATPase signaling which causes systemic inflammation and affects behavioral and brain biochemical changes,” noted first study author Komal Sodhi, M.D., an associate professor of surgery and biomedical sciences at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. With NaKtide, these changes were alleviated and the neurodegeneration improved, added Sodhi.

Sources: Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, iScience

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
OCT 07, 2021
Neuroscience
New Research Shows Relations Between Testosterone, Competition, and Competitive Endurance
OCT 07, 2021
New Research Shows Relations Between Testosterone, Competition, and Competitive Endurance
Research shows relation between testosterone levels, competitiveness, and competitive endurance
NOV 08, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Sample Prep Possibilities: How to Gauge Your "Good Enough"
NOV 08, 2021
Sample Prep Possibilities: How to Gauge Your "Good Enough"
As scientists, we can be very uncomfortable with the concept of “good enough”. It feels contrary to everythi ...
NOV 04, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Sperm Will Swim in Different Directions to Locate the Egg
NOV 04, 2021
Sperm Will Swim in Different Directions to Locate the Egg
Sperm are basically cells with a tail. It can seem surprising that they are able to navigate and swim with purpose. New ...
NOV 10, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
The Symmetry of Sea Stars Reveals More About Development
NOV 10, 2021
The Symmetry of Sea Stars Reveals More About Development
With time lapse photography, scientists have now learned more about the symmetry of sea stars. This work could tell us m ...
NOV 11, 2021
Microbiology
Is Coronavirus Spillover More Common Than We Knew?
NOV 11, 2021
Is Coronavirus Spillover More Common Than We Knew?
While many people are most familiar with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which is called SARS-CoV-2, there are man ...
NOV 14, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Delivery System That Enables Gut Microbes to Communicate with the Body
NOV 14, 2021
A Delivery System That Enables Gut Microbes to Communicate with the Body
There are trillions of microbes that live in out gastrointestinal tract, and each one of those single-celled organisms h ...
Loading Comments...