January 28, 2016

Interplay Between Exercise & Dietary Fat Modulates Myelinogenesis in the Central Nervous System

By Dave Hansen
Isobel A. Scarisbrick, Ph.D.

Isobel A. Scarisbrick, Ph.D.

Diet is an intrinsic aspect of everyday life and is emerging as a major regulator of brain function and plasticity.

The increasing consumption of saturated fats and sugars as is typical of a Western diet is considered detrimental for CNS function; however, based on the high content of lipids in brain, how to manage consumption of dietary fats for optimal CNS health is controversial.

In a newly published research paper Mayo Clinic Associate Professor of Physiology Isobel A. Scarisbrick, Ph.D. and her co-authors investigate the relationship between fat, exercise and Myelin.

Myelin is essential to the conduction of nerve impulses in the brain and spinal cord and myelin loss is a key pathophysiological component of neurological injury and disease, including multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, stroke and certain neuropsychiatric disorders.

The loss of myelin is also a recognized part of normal aging and a risk factor in obesity contributing to cognitive and sensorimotor decline.

mayo_scarisbrick_graphicFindings suggest that the central nervous system is capable of adapting to the demands of a high-energy Western diet when afforded ample exercise, by increasing insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling and the expression of silent mating type information regulation 2 homolog (SIRT1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1_), and free radical scavengers.

These key changes in critical regulators of metabolism may provide protection to myelinating cells and their progenitors resulting in increases in myelin.

Click here to read the full paper.

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