Research Reveals Molecular Mechanisms Linking High-Fat Diets to Alzheimer’s Disease

by Ella

A recent study sheds light on the intricate molecular pathways through which diets high in saturated fats contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Led by Mònica Bulló, a professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the URV (Rovira i Virgili University), in collaboration with the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV), CIBERobn, and the University of Barcelona, the research delved into the impact of such diets on crucial molecular markers in the brain and blood.

Published in the journal Nutrients, the study utilized mouse models predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease to investigate the effects of a high-saturated fat diet on the expression of miRNAs, small molecules of RNA involved in genetic regulation, particularly related to insulin pathways.


Previously, studies on these mouse models had revealed that consumption of a high-saturated fat diet led to an earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the precise mechanisms underlying this association remained elusive until now.


Analyzing the expression of 15 miRNAs in both plasma and brain tissues, the researchers uncovered significant changes linked to insulin regulation and metabolic function. Mice subjected to a high-fat diet for six months exhibited notable metabolic deterioration, including increased body weight and impaired glucose and insulin response, resembling characteristics observed in individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Moreover, alterations in miRNA expression were identified, particularly those associated with processes implicated in Alzheimer’s pathology, such as the accumulation of β-amyloid plaques and excessive production of the tau protein, both of which contribute to brain damage and inflammation.


Mònica Bulló emphasized the significance of these findings, stating, “The results of this study are a step forward in our understanding of this disease and may explain the relationship between obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the onset of Alzheimer’s. The findings also offer new targets for the possible prevention and treatment of the disease.”

This study not only advances our knowledge of how high-fat diets impact brain health but also paves the way for future research into dietary interventions as potential strategies for Alzheimer’s treatment.



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