Combination of High Fat Diet and Chronic Stress Retracts Hippocampal Dendrites

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Atrophy, Brain, CA3, High fat diet, Hippocampus, Psychological stress, Synergy


Adult male rats were fed a low or high fat diet and given psychosocial stress (crowded and unstable housing with daily predator exposure) for 3 weeks. Neither stress nor high fat diet, alone, produced dendritic atrophy; only the group given the combination of stress and high fat diet developed a reduction of the length and number of branch points of apical dendrites of CA3 neurons. These findings indicate that a synergy between high fat diet and stress caused a retraction of CA3 dendrites. The findings are consistent with work on peripheral (e.g., cardiovascular) systems demonstrating a synergy between stress and high fat diet, and are relevant toward understanding how diet and stress interact to adversely affect brain and memory processing.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

NeuroReport, v. 16, issue 1, p. 39-43