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Neuroscience. 2009 Mar 3;159(1):296-307. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.12.006. Epub 2008 Dec 14.

High dietary consumption of trans fatty acids decreases brain docosahexaenoic acid but does not alter amyloid-beta and tau pathologies in the 3xTg-AD model of Alzheimer's disease.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Université Laval, 1050 de la Médecine Avenue, Québec, Québec, Canada G1V 0A6.


Dietary consumption of trans fatty acids (TFA) has increased during the 20th century and is a suspected risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. More recently, high TFA intake has been associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). To investigate the impact of TFA on an animal model genetically programmed to express amyloid-beta (Abeta) and tau pathological markers of AD, we have fed 3xTg-AD mice with either control (0% TFA/total fatty acid), high TFA (16% TFA) or very high TFA (43% TFA) isocaloric diets from 2 to 16 months of age. Effects of TFA on plasma hepatic enzymes, glucose and lipid profile were minimal but very high TFA intake decreased visceral fat of non-transgenic mice. Importantly, dietary TFA increased brain TFA concentrations in a dose-related manner. Very high TFA consumption substantially modified the brain fatty acid profile by increasing mono-unsaturated fatty acids and decreasing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Very high TFA intake induced a shift from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) toward n-6 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-6) without altering the n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio in the cortex of both control and 3xTg-AD mice. Changes in levels of Abeta(40), Abeta(42), tau protein, phosphorylated tau protein and synaptic markers were not statistically significant in the three groups of 3xTg-AD mice, despite a trend toward decreased insoluble tau in very high TFA-fed 3xTg-AD animals. In summary, TFA intake modulated brain fatty acid profiles but had no significant effect on major brain neuropathological hallmarks of AD in an animal model.

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