Tampa, Fla. (April. 23, 2012) Researchers interested in determining the direct effects of a high saturated fat and high cholesterol (HFHC) diet on implanted fetal hippocampal tissues have found that in middle-aged laboratory rats the HFHC diet elevated microglial activation and reduced neuronal development. While the resulting damage was due to an inflammatory response in the central nervous system, they found that the effects of the HFHC diet were alleviated by the interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist IL-1Ra, leading them to conclude that IL-Ra has potential use in neurological disorders involving neuroinflammation.
They published their results in a recent issue of Cell Transplantation (20:10), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/.
To carry out the study, the researchers transplanted hippocampal grafts from embryonic 18 day-old rats into the anterior eye chambers of 16-month old host animals that were subsequently fed either a normal rat chow diet or a HFHC diet for eight weeks.
"We hypothesized that damage from the HFHC diet is due, at least in part, to an inflammatory response in the periphery that leads to an inflammatory response in the central nervous system," said study corresponding author Dr. Linnea Freeman of the Medical University of South Carolina's Department of Neuroscience. "We also hypothesized that the drug Kineret , a common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis based on the IL-1Ra, an IL-1 receptor antagonist, might block the inflammatory cascade."
The researchers noted that the intracranial transplantation of fetal neurons, or engineered cell lines, has been proposed as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. However, the quality of graft survival in the aged brain has been questioned.
"It is well known that the aged brain poses special challeng
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Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair