High fat diet exacerbates neuroinflammation in an animal model of multiple sclerosis by activation of the Renin Angiotensin system

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2014 Mar;9(2):209-17. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9502-4. Epub 2013 Sep 26.


Epidemiological studies suggest a positive correlation between the incidence and severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) and the intake of fatty acids. It remains to be clarified whether high fat diet (HFD) indeed can exacerbate the disease pathology associated with MS and what the underlying mechanisms are. In this study, we determined the influence of HFD on the severity and pathology of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. Mice were fed either normal diet (ND) or HFD and subsequently induced with EAE. Immunohistochemical staining and real-time PCR were used to determine immune cell infiltration and inflammatory mediators in the central nervous system (CNS). Our data show that HFD increases immune cell infiltration and inflammatory mediator production in the CNS and thereby aggravates EAE. Moreover, our data demonstrate that activation of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) is associated with the HFD-mediated effects on EAE severity. These results show that HFD exacerbates an autoreactive immune response within the CNS. This indicates that diets containing excess fat have a significant influence on neuroinflammation in EAE, which may have important implications for the treatment and prevention of neuroinflammatory disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / metabolism
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / pathology*
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*