The hippocampus undergoes maturation during juvenility, a period of increased vulnerability to environmental challenges. We recently found that acute high-fat diet (HFD) impaired hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and hippocampal-dependent spatial memory. We also recently reported that similar HFD exposure affected prefrontal plasticity and social memory through decreased oxytocin levels in the prefrontal cortex. In the present study, we therefore evaluated whether hippocampal oxytocin levels are also affected by juvenile HFD and could mediate deficits of hippocampal LTP and spatial memory. We found that postweaning HFD decreased oxytocin levels in the CA1 of the dorsal hippocampus. Interestingly, systemic injection of high, but not low, dose of oxytocin rescued HFD-induced LTP impairment in CA1. Moreover, deficits in long-term object location memory (OLM) were prevented by systemic injection of both high and low dose of oxytocin as well as by intra-CA1 infusion of oxytocin receptor agonist. Finally, we found that blocking oxytocin receptors in CA1 impaired long-term OLM in control-fed juvenile rats. These results suggest that acute HFD intake lowers oxytocin levels in the CA1 that lead to CA1 plasticity impairment and spatial memory deficits in juveniles. Further, these results provide the first evidence for the regulatory role of oxytocin in spatial memory.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Israel Ministry of Science & Technology (grant # 3-15698).
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
- high-fat diet
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience