Dietary intake of sugar substitutes aggravates cerebral ischemic injury and impairs endothelial progenitor cells in mice.

PMID 25908458


In our current food supply, sugar substitutes are widely used in beverages and other food products. However, there is limited information about the link between dietary consumption of sugar substitutes and stroke to date. This study sought to determine the effect of various sugar substitutes on the cerebral ischemic injury and endothelial progenitor cells, which have been implicated to play an important role in vascular repair and revascularization in ischemic brain tissues, in mice. After treatment with sucrose and various sugar substitutes (the doses are in the range of corresponding acceptable daily intake levels) and vehicle for 6 weeks, mice were subjected to permanent left middle cerebral artery occlusion, and the infarct volumes, angiogenesis, and neurobehavioral outcomes were determined. In addition, the number and function of endothelial progenitor cells were also examined. After long-term treatment with fructose, erythritol (sugar alcohols), acesulfame K (artificial sweeteners), or rebaudioside A (rare sugars), the cerebral ischemic injury (both infarct volumes and neurobehavioral outcomes) was significantly aggravated, angiogenesis in ischemic brain was reduced, and endothelial progenitor cell function was impaired in mice compared with control. However, the similar impairments were not found in sucrose (with the same dose as fructose's)-treated mice. Long-term consumption of sugar substitutes aggravated cerebral ischemic injury in mice, which might be partly attributed to the impairment of endothelial progenitor cells and the reduction of angiogenesis in ischemic brain. This result implies that dietary intake of sugar substitutes warrants further attention in daily life.