PublicationsThe effects of overnight nutrient intake on hypothalamic inflammation in a free-choice diet-induced obesity rat model
Consumption of fat and sugar induces hyperphagia and increases the prevalence of obesity and diabetes type 2. Low-grade inflammation in the hypothalamus, a key brain area involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis is shown to blunt signals of satiety after long term high fat diet. The fact that this mechanism can be activated after a few days of hyperphagia before apparent obesity is present led to our hypothesis that hypothalamic inflammation is induced with fat and sugar consumption. Here, we used a free-choice high-fat high-sugar (fcHFHS) diet-induced obesity model and tested the effects of differential overnight nutrient intake during the final experimental night on markers of hypothalamic inflammation. Male Wistar rats were fed a control diet or fcHFHS diet for one week, and assigned to three different feeding conditions during the final experimental night: 1) fcHFHS-fed, 2) fed a controlled amount of chow diet, or 3) fasted. RT-qPCR and Western blot were utilized to measure hypothalamic gene and protein expression, of cytokines and intermediates of the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) pathway. Lastly, we investigated the effects of acute fat intake on markers of hypothalamic inflammation in fat-naïve rats. fcHFHS/fcHFHS rats consumed more calories, increased adipose tissue, and showed elevated expression of hypothalamic inflammation markers (increased phosphorylation of NF-κB protein, Nfkbia and Il6 gene expression) compared to chow/chow rats. These effects were evident in rats consuming relative high amounts of fat. Removal of the fat and sugar, or fasting, during the final experimental night ameliorated hypothalamic inflammation. Finally, a positive correlation was observed between overnight acute fat consumption and hypothalamic NF-κB phosphorylation in fat-naïve rats. Our data indicate that one week of fcHFHS diet, and especially the fat component, promotes hypothalamic inflammation, and removal of the fat and sugar component reverses these detrimental effects.