Almost all the world knows by now that an unhealthy diet is associated with obesity and the problems derived of this disease. However, many less people are aware that an unhealthy diet can lead to neurological changes in the brain . Now, a study published in "Cell Metabolism" has found that high-fat diets cause alterations in the region of the hypothalamus of the brain in charge of regulating the homeostasis and the metabolism of the body weight.
Directed by Sabrina Diano , of the University of Yale (USA), the study assessed how the consumption of a diet high in fat, specifically those that include high amounts of fats and carbohydrates, stimulates inflammation, hypothalamic, a physiological response to obesity and malnutrition.
The researchers confirmed that the swelling occurs in the hypothalamus, very soon, three days the consumption of a high-fat diet, even before the body begins to show signs of obesity. "We were intrigued by the fact that they are very rapid changes that occur even before there are alterations in the body weight, and we wanted to understand the underlying cellular mechanism," says Diano.
inflammation occurs in the hypothalamus, very soon, to the three days of the consumption of a high-fat diet, even before the body begins to show signs of obesity
the authors of The study observed the inflammation hypothalamic which was produced in animals that were subjected to a high-fat diet. In this way they discovered that changes were taking place in the physical structure between the microglial cells of the animals. These cells, explain in their work, they act as the first line of defense in the central nervous system that regulates inflammation.
The laboratory of Diano discovered in addition that the activation of the microglia was due to changes in their mitochondria , organelles that help our bodies to get energy from the food that we consume . The mitochondria were substantially smaller in the animals with a high-fat diet. The change in the size of mitochondria was due to a protein, the protein of uncoupling 2 (UCP2), which regulates the use of energy from the mitochondria, which affects the control of energy and glucose homeostasis by the hypothalamus.
The researchers observed that microglia activation-mediated UCP2 affected the neurons of the brain that, when they received a signal-inflammatory due to the high fat diet, encourage to eat more and become obese animals of group that received a high-fat diet. However, when this mechanism is blocked to eliminate the protein UCP2 in the microglia, the animals exposed to a high-fat diet ate less and were resistant to weight gain.The mechanism identified may be important from an evolutionary point of view; however, when foods rich in fats and carbohydrates are constantly available, is prejudicial
The study not only illustrates how high-fat diets affect us physically, but they conveyed how an unhealthy diet, can alter our food intake neurologically . "There are mechanisms in specific brain that are activated when we are exposed to a specific type of food. The one that we have identified may be important from an evolutionary point of view; however, when foods rich in fats and carbohydrates are constantly available, it is harmful".
The long-term objective of the team of Diano is to understand the physiological mechanisms that regulate the amount of food you consume. In addition, investigate how activated microglia can affect various diseases in the brain, including Alzheimer's disease , a neurological disorder associated with changes in the microglial cells of the brain and has been shown to have a higher incidence among obese individuals.Updated Date: 12 September 2019, 11:01