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12 - 03 - 2018

Preventing inflammation and aging of the brain

A low-fat and low-calorie diet protects the brain from age-related chronic inflammation in mice.

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Rodent models of aging and obesity show chronic inflammation of certain areas of the brain, including the hypothalamus, a major player in memory and learning.

 

To find links between these observed effects, researchers have studied in the mouse the impact of a rich or low-fat diet on the hypothalamus’ immune system (therefore on inflammation) after six months (adult mice).

 

In addition, they studied for these two types of diet, the consequences of exercise and a 40% reduction in calories after two years (aged mice).

 

The parameters measured were mainly the genetic expression of the immune cells of the brain (microglia), their histology (microscopy) and the reaction to an inflammatory stimulus.

 

It appeared that brain inflammation in elderly mice was avoided only by combining a diet low in fat and calories. In addition, exercise seemed less effective than caloric restriction.

 

 

Of course, the results of this type of study are not directly transposable to humans. But they provide insights into the biological mechanisms of mammals in an area that combines several serious public health problems, obesity and brain aging. It is, in this sense, important.