Journal of neuroinflammation

Prolonged diet-induced obesity in mice modifies the inflammatory response and leads to worse outcome after stroke.

PMID 26239227


Obesity increases the risk for ischaemic stroke and is associated with worse outcome clinically and experimentally. Most experimental studies have used genetic models of obesity. Here, a more clinically relevant model, diet-induced obesity, was used to study the impact of obesity over time on the outcome and inflammatory response after stroke. Male C57BL/6 mice were maintained on a high-fat (60% fat) or control (12% fat) diet for 2, 3, 4 and 6 months when experimental stroke was induced by transient occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAo) for either 20 (6-month diet) or 30 min (2-, 3-, 4- and 6-month diet). Ischaemic damage, blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity, neutrophil number and chemokine expression in the brain were assessed at 24 h. Plasma chemokine levels (at 4 and 24 h) and neutrophil number in the liver (at 24 h) were measured. Physiological parameters (body weight and blood glucose) were measured in naïve control- and high-fat-fed mice at all time points and blood pressure at 3 and 6 months. Blood cell counts were also assessed in naïve 6-month control- and high-fat-fed mice. Mice fed a high-fat diet for 6 months had greater body weight, blood glucose and white and red blood cell count but no change in systolic blood pressure. After 4 and 6 months of high-fat feeding, and in the latter group with a 30-min (but not 20-min) occlusion of the MCA, obese mice had greater ischaemic brain damage. An increase in blood-brain barrier permeability, chemokine expression (CXCL-1 and CCL3), neutrophil number and microglia/macrophage cells was observed in the brains of 6-month high-fat-fed mice after 30-min MCAo. In response to stroke, chemokine (CXCL-1) expression in the plasma and liver was significantly different in obese mice (6-month high-fat fed), and a greater number of neutrophils were detected in the liver of control but not obese mice. The detrimental effects of diet-induced obesity on stroke were therefore dependent on the severity of obesity and length of ischaemic challenge. The altered inflammatory response in obese mice may play a key role in its negative impact on stroke.