Genetic variability to diet-induced hippocampal dysfunction in BXD recombinant inbred (RI) mouse strains

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Oct 1;292:83-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.06.023. Epub 2015 Jun 16.


Evidence has emerged suggesting that diet-induced obesity can have a negative effect on cognitive function. Here, we exploited a mouse genetic reference population to look for the linkage between these two processes on a genome-wide scale. The focus of this report is to determine whether the various BXD RI strains exhibited different behavioral performance and hippocampal function under high fat dietary (HFD) condition. We quantified genetic variation in body weight gain and consequent influences on behavioral tests in a cohort of 14 BXD strains of mice (8-12 mice/strain, n = 153), for which we have matched data on gene expression and neuroanatomical changes in the hippocampus. It showed that BXD66 was the most susceptible, whereas BXD77 was the least susceptible strain to dietary influences. The performance of spatial reference memory tasks was strongly correlated with body weight gain (P < 0.05). The obesity-prone strains displayed more pronounced spatial memory defects compared to the obesity-resistant strains. These abnormalities were associated with neuroinflammation, synaptic dysfunction, and neuronal loss in the hippocampus. The biological relevance of DSCAM gene polymorphism was assessed using the trait correlation analysis tool in Genenetwork. Furthermore, a significant strain-dependent gene expression difference of DSCAM was detected in the hippocampus of obese BXD strains by real-time quantitative PCR. In conclusion, a variety of across-strain hippocampal alterations and genetic predispositions to diet-induced obesity were found in a set of BXD strains. The obesity-prone and obesity-resistant lines we have identified should be highly useful to study the molecular genetics of diet-induced cognitive decline.

Keywords: BXD mice; DSCAM; High-fat diet; Hippocampus; Spatial learning.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Body Weight
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Spatial Memory / physiology