High-Fat Diet During the Perinatal Period Induces Loss of Myenteric Nitrergic Neurons and Increases Enteric Glial Density, Prior to the Development of Obesity

Caitlin A. McMenamin, Courtney Clyburn, Kirsteen N. Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Diet-induced obesity induces peripheral inflammation accompanied by a loss of myenteric neurons. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of a high-fat diet (HFD) on either the development of myenteric neurons or prior to the occurrence of obesity. The present study assessed the effects of maternal HFD on the density and neurochemical phenotype of myenteric ganglia in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Sprague–Dawley rats were fed either a control or HFD (14% or 60% kcal from fat, respectively) from embryonic day 13; the fundus, corpus and duodenum were fixed thereafter at postnatal 2, 4, 6 and 12 weeks of age for subsequent immunohistochemical studies. While myenteric ganglion size did not differ throughout the study, HFD exposure decreased the number of nitrergic neurons by 6 weeks of age in all regions. This decrease was accompanied by a loss of PGP-immunoreactive neurons, suggesting a decline in myenteric neuronal number. HFD also increased myenteric plexus glial cell density in all regions by 4 weeks of age. These changes occurred in the absence of an increase in serum or gastric inflammatory markers. The present study suggests that exposure to a HFD during the perinatal time period results in glial proliferation and loss of inhibitory nitrergic neurons prior to the onset of obesity, suggesting that dietary alterations may affect gastrointestinal functions independently of increased adiposity or glycemic dysregulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroscience
Volume393
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

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