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Peter Spégel

Principal investigator

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Cognitive Impairment and Metabolite Profile Alterations in the Hippocampus and Cortex of Male and Female Mice Exposed to a Fat and Sugar-Rich Diet are Normalized by Diet Reversal


  • Alba Garcia-Serrano
  • Adélaïde A Mohr
  • Juliette Philippe
  • Cecilia Skoug
  • Peter Spégel
  • Joao NM Duarte

Summary, in English

Diabetes impacts on brain metabolism, structure and function. Alterations in brain metabolism have been observed in obesity and diabetes models induced by exposure to diets rich in saturated fat and/or sugar and have been linked to memory impairment. However, it remains to be determined whether brain dysfunction induced by obesogenic diets results from permanent brain alterations. We tested the hypothesis that an obesogenic diet (high-fat and high-sucrose diet; HFHSD) causes reversible changes in hippocampus and cortex metabolism and alterations in behavior. Mice were exposed to HFHSD for 24 weeks or for 16 weeks followed by 8 weeks of diet normalization. Development of the metabolic syndrome, changes in behavior, and brain metabolite profiles by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) were assessed longitudinally. Control mice were fed an ingredient-matched low-fat and low-sugar diet. Mice fed the HFHSD developed obesity, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, with a more severe phenotype in male than female mice. Relative to controls, both male and female HFHSD-fed mice showed increased anxiety-like behavior, impaired memory in object recognition tasks, but preserved working spatial memory as evaluated by spontaneous alternation in a Y-maze. Alterations in the metabolite profiles were observed both in the hippocampus and cortex but were more distinct in the hippocampus. HFHSD-induced metabolic changes included altered levels of lactate, glutamate, GABA, glutathione, taurine, N-acetylaspartate, total creatine and total choline. Notably, HFHSD-induced metabolic syndrome, anxiety, memory impairment, and brain metabolic alterations recovered upon diet normalization for 8 weeks. In conclusion, cortical and hippocampal derangements induced by long-term HFHSD consumption are reversible rather than being the result of permanent tissue damage.


  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • Diabetes and Brain Function
  • Centre for Analysis and Synthesis
  • WCMM-Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine

Publishing year





Aging and Disease

Document type

Journal article


Buck Institute for Age Research


  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Nutrition and Dietetics



Research group

  • Diabetes and Brain Function


  • ISSN: 2152-5250