Nox2-derived superoxide contributes to cerebral vascular dysfunction in diet-induced Obesity

Cynthia M. Lynch, Dale A. Kinzenbaw, Xunxheng Chen, Shanshan Zhan, Erin Mezzetti, Jessica Filosa, Adviye Ergul, Jessica L. Faulkner, Frank M. Faraci, Sean P. Didion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Obesity is an increasing epidemic worldwide; however, little is known about effects of obesity produced by high-fat diet (HFD) on the cerebral circulation. The purpose of this study was to examine the functional and temporal effects of a HFD on carotid and cerebral vascular function and to identify mechanisms that contribute to such functional alterations. Methods: Responses of cerebral arterioles (in vivo) and carotid arteries (in vitro) were examined in C57Bl/6 (wild-type) and Nox2-deficient (Nox2-/-) mice fed a control (10%) or a HFD (45% or 60% kcal of fat) for 8, 12, 30, or 36 weeks. Results: In wild-type mice, a HFD produced obesity and endothelial dysfunction by 12 and 36 weeks in cerebral arterioles and carotid arteries, respectively. Endothelial function could be significantly improved with Tempol (a superoxide scavenger) treatment in wild-type mice fed a HFD. Despite producing a similar degree of obesity in both wild-type and Nox2-/- mice, endothelial dysfunction was observed only in wild-type, but not in Nox2-/-, mice fed a HFD. Conclusions: Endothelial dysfunction produced by a HFD occurs in a temporal manner and appears much earlier in cerebral arterioles than in carotid arteries. Genetic studies revealed that Nox2-derived superoxide plays a major role in endothelial dysfunction produced by a HFD. Such functional changes may serve to predispose blood vessels to reduced vasodilator responses and thus may contribute to alterations in cerebral blood flow associated with obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3195-3201
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Brain
  • Diabetes mellitus, type 2
  • Diet, high-fat
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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