High fat diet consumption results in mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and oligodendrocyte loss in the central nervous system

Monica R. Langley, Hyesook Yoon, Ha Neui Kim, Chan Il Choi, Whitney Simon, Laurel Kleppe, Ian R. Lanza, Nathan K. LeBrasseur, Aleksey Matveyenko, Isobel A. Scarisbrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Metabolic syndrome is a key risk factor and co-morbidity in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions, such that a better understanding of how a high fat diet contributes to oligodendrocyte loss and the capacity for myelin regeneration has the potential to highlight new treatment targets. Results demonstrate that modeling metabolic dysfunction in mice with chronic high fat diet (HFD) consumption promotes loss of oligodendrocyte progenitors across the brain and spinal cord. A number of transcriptomic and metabolomic changes in ER stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress pathways in HFD-fed mouse spinal cords were also identified. Moreover, deficits in TCA cycle intermediates and mitochondrial respiration were observed in the chronic HFD spinal cord tissue. Oligodendrocytes are known to be particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage, and we observed increased markers of oxidative stress in both the brain and spinal cord of HFD-fed mice. We additionally identified that increased apoptotic cell death signaling is underway in oligodendrocytes from mice chronically fed a HFD. When cultured under high saturated fat conditions, oligodendrocytes decreased both mitochondrial function and differentiation. Overall, our findings show that HFD-related changes in metabolic regulators, decreased mitochondrial function, and oxidative stress contribute to a loss of myelinating cells. These studies identify HFD consumption as a key modifiable lifestyle factor for improved myelin integrity in the adult central nervous system and in addition new tractable metabolic targets for myelin protection and repair strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165630
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • High fat diet
  • Mitochondria
  • Myelin
  • Oligodendrocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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