Early effects of high-fat diet on neurovascular function and focal ischemic brain injury

Weiguo Li, Roshini Prakash, Dhruv Chawla, Wenting Du, Sean P. Didion, Jessica Andrea Filosa, Quanguang Zhang, Darrell W Brann, Victor V. Lima, Rita C. Tostes, Adviye Ergul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Obesity is a risk factor for stroke, but the early effects of high-fat diet (HFD) on neurovascular function and ischemic stroke outcomes remain unclear. The goal of this study was to test the hypotheses that HFD beginning early in life 1) impairs neurovascular coupling, 2) causes cerebrovascular dysfunction, and 3) worsens short-term outcomes after cerebral ischemia. Functional hyperemia and parenchymal arteriole (PA) reactivity were measured in rats after 8 wk of HFD. The effect of HFD on basilar artery function after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and associated O-GlcNAcylation were assessed. Neuronal cell death, infarct size, hemorrhagic transformation (HT) frequency/severity, and neurological deficit were evaluated after global ischemia and transient MCAO. HFD caused a 10% increase in body weight and doubled adiposity without a change in lipid profile, blood glucose, and blood pressure. Functional hyperemia and PA relaxation were decreased with HFD. Basilar arteries from stroked HFD rats were more sensitive to contractile factors, and acetylcholine- mediated relaxation was impaired. Vascular O-GlcNAcylated protein content was increased with HFD. This group also showed greater mortality rate, infarct volume, HT occurrence rate, and HT severity and poor functional outcome compared with the control diet group. These results indicate that HFD negatively affects neurovascular coupling and cerebrovascular function even in the absence of dyslipidemia. These early cerebrovascular changes may be the cause of greater cerebral injury and poor outcomes of stroke in these animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1001-R1008
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Hemorrhagic transformation
  • High-fat diet
  • Neurovascular coupling
  • Vascular dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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