The interplay between oxidative stress and brain-derived neurotrophic factor modulates the outcome of a saturated fat diet on synaptic plasticity and cognition

Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Apr;19(7):1699-707. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03246.x.


A diet high in saturated fat (HF) decreases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), to the extent that compromises neuroplasticity and cognitive function, and aggravates the outcome of brain insult. By using the antioxidant power of vitamin E, we performed studies to determine the role of oxidative stress as a mediator for the effects of BDNF on synaptic plasticity and cognition caused by consumption of the HF diet. Male adult rats were maintained on a HF diet for 2 months with or without 500 IU/kg of vitamin E. Supplementation of the HF diet with vitamin E dramatically reduced oxidative damage, normalized levels of BDNF, synapsin I and cyclic AMP-response element-binding protein (CREB), caused by the consumption of the HF diet. In addition, vitamin E supplementation preserved the process of activation of synapsin I and CREB, and reversed the HF-impaired cognitive function. It is known that BDNF facilitates the synapse by modulating synapsin I and CREB, which have been implicated in synaptic plasticity associated to learning and memory. These results show that oxidative stress can interact with the BDNF system to modulate synaptic plasticity and cognitive function. Therefore, studies appear to reveal a mechanism by which events classically related to the maintenance of energy balance of the cell, such as oxidative stress, can interact with molecular events that modulate neuronal and behavioural plasticity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / therapeutic use
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxyguanosine / metabolism
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Fatty Acids / toxicity*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Synapsins / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • Fatty Acids
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Synapsins
  • Vitamin A
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Deoxyguanosine