Metabolic dysfunction related to diet-induced obesity has recently been linked to the pathogenesis of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the underlying mechanisms linking obesity and AD remain unclear.
The purpose of this study was to examine early alterations in brain insulin signaling, inflammatory/stress markers, and energetic stress in a model of diet-induced obesity during middle age. Male C57BL/6J mice were randomized to either a control diet (AGE n = 12) or high-fat and sucrose diet (AGE-HFS n = 12) for 13-weeks from 20-weeks of age. Prefrontal cortex and hippocampal samples were collected at 20-weeks of age (BSL n = 11) and at 33-weeks of age (AGE and AGE-HFS). The HFS diet resulted in increased body weight (30%; P = 0.0001), increased %fat mass (28%; P = 0.0001), and decreased %lean mass (33%; P = 0.0001) compared to aged controls. In the prefrontal cortex, AGE-HFS resulted in increased 5' adenosine monophosphate - activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation (P = 0.045). In the hippocampus, AGE-HFS resulted in increased extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation and protein kinase B (Akt) serine473 and glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) phosphorylation (P < 0.05).
Results from this study demonstrate that aging combined with a HFS diet results in increased inflammation (pERK and pJNK) and energetic stress (pAMPK) in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, respectively. Together these novel results provide important information for future targets in early AD pathogenesis.
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