Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Ilse Arnoldussen (Donders series 247)

20 November 2018

Promotors: prof. dr. O. Boerman, prof. dr. D. Gustafson
Co-promotors: dr. A. Kiliaan, dr. M. Wiesmann

Adiposity and the Brain. The adiposity-brain-axis in mice and men

The brain consists for 60 percent of fat, and fatty acids are crucial in brain function. White adipose tissue is a large endocrine organ which affects all organs within the body, including the brain. Obesity or excessive accumulation of white adipose tissue (adiposity) disrupts the balance within the adiposity-brain-axis i. In this thesis, we discuss the adiposity-brain-axis in mice and men. We found that adiposity negatively affects brain function. Specifically, adiposity results in neuroinflammation, decreased cerebral blood flow and reduced gray matter. Sex and age highly affect these biological processes involved. Moreover, we found that intake of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in early life protects against the development of adiposity in mouse models for obesity. Lastly, we found that butyrate, a short chain fatty acid (side product of fermation of undigestable fibers by microbiota inour gut)), counteracts the development adiposity induced by a high fat diet, and can recover neuroinflammatory processes and cerebral blood flow in mice. Future research should further examine the role of sex an age, and multinutrient diets in the adiposity-brain-axis.