Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the United States have uncovered a link between obesity and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Using the fruit fly as a model organism, the study suggests that a high-sugar diet, a hallmark of obesity, induces insulin resistance in the brain.
This insulin resistance, in turn, impairs the brain’s ability to clear neuronal debris, increasing the risk of neurodegeneration. The findings shed light on the potential mechanisms underlying the association between obesity and neurodegenerative diseases.
Obesity is recognized as a risk factor for neurodegenerative disorders, but the precise mechanisms linking the two have remained unclear. The study utilized fruit flies due to the similarities between fruit fly and human biology.
Previous research had demonstrated that a high-sugar diet leads to insulin resistance in peripheral organs of fruit flies.
The researchers extended their investigation to the brain, focusing on glial cells because microglial dysfunction is known to contribute to neural degeneration.
They found that the high-sugar diet caused reduced levels of the protein PI3k in glial cells, indicating insulin resistance. The study also examined ensheathing glia, the fruit fly equivalent of microglia responsible for clearing neuronal debris.
These glia exhibited low levels of the protein Draper, suggesting impaired function. Artificially reducing PI3k levels led to both insulin resistance and low Draper levels in ensheathing glia.
After damaging olfactory neurons in the fruit flies, ensheathing glia on the high-sugar diet were unable to clear degenerating axons because their Draper levels did not increase. Implications of the Study:
The research suggests that high-sugar diets may induce insulin resistance in glial cells, affecting their ability to clear neuronal debris.
This study provides insights into the potential mechanisms by which obesity-related diets contribute to an increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders.
Further research may help identify therapeutic strategies to mitigate the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases associated with obesity. Conclusion:
The study conducted on fruit flies offers valuable insights into the relationship between a high-sugar diet, insulin resistance in the brain, and the risk of neurodegenerative disorders.
While further research is needed to fully understand these mechanisms in humans, this study contributes to our understanding of the link between obesity and neurodegenerative diseases, potentially opening avenues for future therapeutic interventions.
For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about 5 dangerous signs you have diabetes-related eye disease, and results showing why pomegranate is super fruit for people with diabetes.
The research findings can be found in PLOS Biology.
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