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Curr Neuropharmacol. 2018;16(7):1059-1085. doi: 10.2174/1570159X15666171017102547.

Impact of Dietary Fats on Brain Functions.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Naples, Italy.
2
Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, National Research Council (C.N.R.), Rome, Italy.
3
Fondazione S. Lucia (FSL) IRCCS, Roma, Italy.
4
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Scuola Medica Salernitana, University of Salerno, Baronissi, SA, Italy.
5
UO Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, Medical School, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
6
INRA, Bordeaux University, Nutrition and Integrative Neurobiology, UMR, Bordeaux, France.
7
Department of Movement and Wellness Sciences, Parthenope University of Naples, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Adequate dietary intake and nutritional status have important effects on brain functions and on brain health. Energy intake and specific nutrients excess or deficiency from diet differently affect cognitive processes, emotions, behaviour, neuroendocrine functions and synaptic plasticity with possible protective or detrimental effects on neuronal physiology. Lipids, in particular, play structural and functional roles in neurons. Here the importance of dietary fats and the need to understand the brain mechanisms activated by peripheral and central metabolic sensors. Thus, the manipulation of lifestyle factors such as dietary interventions may represent a successful therapeutic approach to maintain and preserve brain health along lifespan.

METHODS:

This review aims at summarizing the impact of dietary fats on brain functions.

RESULTS:

Starting from fat consumption, nutrient sensing and food-related reward, the impact of gut-brain communications will be discussed in brain health and disease. A specific focus will be on the impact of fats on the molecular pathways within the hypothalamus involved in the control of reproduction via the expression and the release of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone. Lastly, the effects of specific lipid classes such as polyunsaturated fatty acids and of the "fattest" of all diets, commonly known as "ketogenic diets", on brain functions will also be discussed.

CONCLUSION:

Despite the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms is still a work in progress, the clinical relevance of the manipulation of dietary fats is well acknowledged and such manipulations are in fact currently in use for the treatment of brain diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Fat; GnRH; PUFAs; diet; endocannabinoids; epilepsy; ghrelin; hypothalamus; ketogenic diets; kisspeptin; leptin; metabolic sensors; microbiota; neuroprotection; nutrient sensing; reproduction.

PMID:
29046155
PMCID:
PMC6120115
[Available on 2019-02-01]
DOI:
10.2174/1570159X15666171017102547
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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