After 16 weeks, the researchers conducted a series of tests to compare the effects of these diets on the body, specifically the liver and brain. They found that all mice consuming higher levels of fat became obese and developed NAFLD, insulin resistance and brain dysfunction.

This is because the disease affects the number and thickness of cerebral blood vessels, which deliver less oxygen to the tissue, and at the same time, special cells consume more oxygen when the brain is inflamed. These mice were also more anxious and showed signs of depression.

In comparison, mice fed a healthy diet did not develop NAFLD or insulin resistance, behaved normally, and their brains were completely healthy.


“Seeing the effects of liver fat accumulation on the brain is very concerning, especially since it often begins mildly and can exist silently for many years without people knowing it,” said lead author Dr Anna Hadjihambi. Roger Williams is a sub-team leader in the Liver-Brain Axis group at the Institute of Hepatology and an emeritus lecturer at King’s College London.

To combat the dangerous effects of NAFLD on the brain, scientists bred mice with lower levels of a whole-body protein known as Monocarboxylate Transporter 1 (MCT1). their normal functioning.

When these mice were fed the same diet high in unhealthy fat and sugar as in the original experiment, they had no fatty deposits in their livers and no signs of impaired brain function—they were protected from both diseases.

“The identification of MCT1 as a key element in the development of both NAFLD and its associated brain dysfunction opens up exciting perspectives,” said Professor Luc Pellerin, director of the Inserm U1313 research unit at the University of Poitiers in France and lead researcher on the study. “This highlights potential mechanisms in the liver-brain axis and points to a possible therapeutic target.”

Dr. Hadjihambi added: “This research highlights the importance of reducing the amount of sugar and fat in our diet not only to fight obesity, but also to protect the liver to maintain brain health and minimize the risk of developing conditions such as depression and dementia. As we age, our brains become more when it becomes brittle.

Source: Eurekalert

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