Dysregulated bile acid synthesis and dysbiosis are implicated in Western diet–induced systemic inflammation, microglial activation, and reduced neuroplasticity

  • Prasant Kumar Jena, Lili Sheng, Jacopo Di Lucente, Lee-Way Jin, Izumi Maezawa, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan
  • The FASEB Journal, January 2018, Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology (FASEB)
  • DOI: 10.1096/fj.201700984rr

Western diet linked to brain inflammation and reduced neuroplasticity and memory impairment.

What is it about?

Long-term consumption of Western diet changes specific bile acids and gut bacteria that are associated with the cause of brain inflammation and memory loss. In addition, Western diet-fed mice had increased inflammation in liver, ileum, adipose tissue, and spleen. In the brain as well as the digestive tract, Western diet reduced retinoic acid and bile acid signaling, whose receptors linked together and can control metabolism and inflammation. Mice fed with Western diet have developed several changes in the central nervous system that were associated with inflammation, elevated potassium channel expression in microglia, synaptic degeneration, and reduced neurotrophism.

Why is it important?

The study is timely due to the prevalence of high fat and high sugar Western diet-induced metabolic syndrome associated dementia-related Alzheimer’s disease. “Through gut-brain axis, Western diet driven changes in bile acid profile and gut microbiota dysbiosis can cause brain inflammation and cognitive decline”.


Prasant Jena
Union University of California

Western diet intake causes inflammation throughout the body and the brain as well as reduced memory, which accompanied by dysregulated bile acid synthesis and gut microbiota dysbiosis. The current study might be one of the first to investigate the combined effect of fat and sugar on cognitive health, which we showed occurs, in part, by dysregulating BA synthesis and inactivating BA receptor-regulated signaling in the brain and digestive tract. These events, in turn, contribute to neuroinflammation as well as systemic inflammation and compromised synaptic plasticity. We also showed here that WD reduced expression of Bdnf in the brain, microglia, liver, and adipose tissue, indicating decreased neurotrophism.

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The following have contributed to this page: Prasant Jena and Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan Wan