Author(s): de la Monte SM, Tong M, Lawton M, Longato L
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The current epidemics of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and Alzheimer's disease (AD) all represent insulin-resistance diseases. Previous studies linked insulin resistance diseases to high fat diets or exposure to streptozotocin, a nitrosamine-related compound that causes T2DM, NASH, and AD-type neurodegeneration. We hypothesize that low-level exposure to nitrosamines that are widely present in processed foods, amplifies the deleterious effects of high fat intake in promoting T2DM, NASH, and neurodegeneration. METHODS: Long Evans rat pups were treated with N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) by i.p. Injection, and upon weaning, they were fed with high fat (60\%; HFD) or low fat (5\%; LFD) chow for 6 weeks. Rats were evaluated for cognitive impairment, insulin resistance, and neurodegeneration using behavioral, biochemical, molecular, and histological methods. RESULTS: NDEA and HFD +/- NDEA caused T2DM, NASH, deficits in spatial learning, and neurodegeneration with hepatic and brain insulin and/or IGF resistance, and reductions in tau and choline acetyltransferase levels in the temporal lobe. In addition, pro-ceramide genes, which promote insulin resistance, were increased in livers and brains of rats exposed to NDEA, HFD, or both. In nearly all assays, the adverse effects of HFD+NDEA were worse than either treatment alone. CONCLUSIONS: Environmental and food contaminant exposures to low, sub-mutagenic levels of nitrosamines, together with chronic HFD feeding, function synergistically to promote major insulin resistance diseases including T2DM, NASH, and AD-type neurodegeneration. Steps to minimize human exposure to nitrosamines and consumption of high-fat content foods are needed to quell these costly and devastating epidemics.
This article was published in Mol Neurodegener
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology