Intermittent fasting with a high-protein diet mitigated osteoarthritis symptoms by increasing lean body mass and reducing inflammation in osteoarthritic rats with Alzheimer's disease-like dementia

Br J Nutr. 2022 Jan 14;127(1):55-67. doi: 10.1017/S0007114521000829. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Menopausal women are susceptible to osteoarthritis(OA) and memory impairment. We hypothesised that Alzheimer's-like disease(AD) exacerbates OA and that intermittent fasting(IMF) with a high-protein(H-P) diet would enhance memory function and relieve OA symptoms in oestrogen-deficient animals induced AD and OA. The action mechanism was also explored. Ovariectomised Sprague-Dawley rats were fed high-fat(H-F) or H-P diets for 2 weeks, and then they had a hippocampal infusion of β-amyloid(25-35) for 4 weeks to induce AD and an injection of monoidoacetate(MIA) into the articular cartilage to induce OA. Non-AD groups had non-AD symptoms by hippocampal amyloid-β(35-25) infusion. IMF suppressed memory impairment in AD rats, especially those fed H-P diets. Compared with non-AD, AD exacerbated OA symptoms, including swelling, limping, slowed treadmill running speed, and uneven weight distribution in the left leg. The exacerbations were linked to increased inflammation and pain, but IMF and H-P lessened the exacerbation. Lean body mass(LBM) decreased with AD, but H-P protected against LBM loss. Histological examination of the knee joint revealed the degree of the cellular invasion into the middle zone, and the changes in the tidemark plateau were greatest in the AD-AL with H-F, while non-AD-IMF improved the cellular invasion to as much as non-AD-AL. H-P reduced the infiltration into the middle zone of the knee and promoted collagen production. In conclusion, AD exacerbated the articular cartilage deterioration and memory impairment, and IMF with H-P alleviated the memory impairment and osteoarthritic symptoms by decreasing hippocampal amyloid-β deposition and proinflammatory cytokine expressions and by increasing LBM.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Intermittent fasting; Menopause; Osteoarthritis; Pain; Protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular* / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Protein*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Osteoarthritis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley