Butyrate reduction and HDAC4 increase underlie maternal high fructose-induced metabolic dysfunction in hippocampal astrocytes in female rats

J Nutr Biochem. 2024 Apr:126:109571. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2024.109571. Epub 2024 Jan 8.


Maternal nutrient intake influences the health of the offspring via microenvironmental systems in digestion and absorption. Maternal high fructose diet (HFD) impairs hippocampus-dependent memory in adult female rat offspring. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unclear. Maternal HFD causes microbiota dysbiosis. In this study, we find that the plasma level of butyrate, a major metabolite of microbiota, is significantly decreased in the adult female maternal HFD offspring. In these rats, GPR43, a butyrate receptor was downregulated in the hippocampus. Moreover, the expressions of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) were downregulated in the hippocampus. The decreases of these functional proteins were reversed by fructooligosaccharides (FOS, a probiotic) treatment in adulthood. Astrocytes are critical for energy metabolism in the brain. Primary astrocyte culture from female maternal HFD offspring indicated that GPR43 and the mitochondrial biogenesis were significantly suppressed, which was reversed by supplemental butyrate incubation. The oxygen consumption rate (OCR) was reduced in the HFD group and rescued by butyrate. Intriguingly, the nuclear histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) was enhanced in the HFD group, suggesting an inhibitory role of butyrate on histone deacetylase activity. Inhibition of HDAC4 effectively restored the OCR, bioenergetics, and biogenesis of mitochondria. Together, these results suggested that the impaired butyrate signaling by maternal HFD could underlie the reduced mitochondrial functions in the hippocampus via HDAC4-mediated epigenetic changes.

Keywords: Bioenergetics; Butyrate; GPR43; HDAC4; Maternal high fructose diet; Mitochondrial biogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes*
  • Butyrates* / pharmacology
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Histone Deacetylases
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha / genetics
  • Rats


  • Butyrates
  • Histone Deacetylases
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • HDAC4 protein, rat