Fatty liver disease risk for brain health
After 16 weeks, the researchers conducted a series of trials to compare the effects of these diets on the body and, more specifically, on the liver and brain. They found that all the mice that consumed the higher amounts of fat were considered obese and developed NAFLD, insulin resistance, and brain dysfunction.
This is because the disease affects the number and thickness of the brain’s blood vessels, which deliver less oxygen to the tissue, but also because specific cells consume more oxygen while the brain is inflamed. These mice were also more anxious and showed signs of depression.
For comparison, the mice that ate a healthy diet did not develop NAFLD or insulin resistance, they behaved normally, and their brains were completely healthy.
The study’s lead author, Dr Anna Hadjihambi, said: “It is worrisome to see the impact of fat accumulation in the liver on the brain, especially since it often starts out mild and can be persistent. silently for many years without people knowing they had the disease.” Subgroup leader in the Liver-Brain Axis group at the Roger Williams Hepatobiliary Institute and emeritus lecturer at King’s College London.
To try and counter the dangerous effects NAFLD has on the brain, scientists bred mice with lower levels of a whole-body protein called Monocarboxylate Transporter 1 (MCT1) – a protein that transports convert the energy substrates used by different cells to their normal function.
When these mice were fed the same diet high in unhealthy fats and sugars as in the original experiment, they had no fat accumulation in their livers and no signs of brain dysfunction – they were preserved. protect against both diseases.
“Identified MCT1 as a key player in the development of both NAFLD and the disorder,” said Professor Luc Pellerin, director of the Inserm U1313 research unit at the University of Poitiers in France and a senior researcher on the study. Its related brain function opens up exciting prospects.” “It highlights potential mechanisms at play in the liver-brain axis and points to a possible therapeutic target.”
Dr Hadjihambi added: “This study highlights that cutting down on sugar and fat in our diets is not only important to tackle obesity, but also protects the liver to maintain brain health. and reduce the risk of developing conditions such as depression and dementia”. during aging, as our brains become more fragile.