Early impairments in the retina of rats fed with high fructose/high fat diet are associated with glucose metabolism deregulation but not dyslipidaemia

Sci Rep. 2019 Apr 12;9(1):5997. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42528-9.


Way of life changes such as high consumption of processed foods rich in fat and sugar and sedentary lifestyle are associated with the increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) that affects about 35% in the American population. MetS is the main risk factor for diabetes mellitus, which is associated with vascular changes in the retina. However, the early consequences of MetS in the retina are not well described. We therefore aimed at characterizing the early effects of a high fructose and high fat diet (HFHF) on the function and structure of the rat retina, and evaluate the associations with metabolic changes. Brown Norway rats of 6 weeks of age were fed for 8 days, 5 weeks or 13 weeks with HFHF diet, or a standard chow. After only 4 weeks of this diet, rats exhibited a reduction in cone photoreceptor sensitivity to light. Moreover, we observed that MetS significantly exacerbated laser-induced choroidal neovascularization by 72% and 67% 2 weeks and 3 weeks post laser treatment, respectively. These retinal abnormalities were associated with deregulation of glucose metabolism but not lipid metabolism. These data showed retinal modifications in HFHF-induced MetS in the rat, at very early stage of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / chemically induced
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dyslipidemias / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / chemically induced
  • Fructose / adverse effects*
  • Gliosis / chemically induced
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Rats
  • Retina / drug effects*
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / drug effects
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Fructose
  • Glucose