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Open Access A High-Fat/High-Cholesterol Diet Inhibits Growth of Fetal Hippocampal Transplants via Increased Inflammation

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A diet containing high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol is detrimental to many aspects of health and is known to lead to obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. However, the effects of a diet rich in saturated fat and cholesterol on the brain are not currently well understood. In order to determine direct effects of a high saturated fat and cholesterol diet upon fetal hippocampal tissue, we transplanted hippocampal grafts from embryonic day 18 rats to the anterior eye chamber of 16-month-old host animals that were fed either a normal rat chow diet or a 10% hydrogenated coconut oil + 2% cholesterol diet (HFHC diet) for 8 weeks. One eye per rat received topical application of an IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra, Kineret®) and the other served as a saline control. Results revealed that the HFHC diet led to a marked reduction in hippocampal transplant growth, and detrimental effects of the diet were alleviated by the IL-1 receptor antagonist IL-1Ra. Graft morphology demonstrated that the HFHC diet reduced organotypical development of the hippocampal neuronal cell layers, which was also alleviated by IL-1Ra. Finally, grafts were evaluated with markers for glucose transporter expression, astrocytes, and activated microglia. Our results demonstrate significant effects of the HFHC diet on hippocampal morphology, including elevated microglial activation and reduced neuronal development. IL-1Ra largely blocked the detrimental effects of this diet, suggesting a potential use for this agent in neurological disorders involving neuroinflammation.

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Keywords: Cholesterol; Hippocampus; Inflammation; Saturated fat; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Neurosciences and the Center on Aging, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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