MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Catherine Kaczorowski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Evnin Family Chair in Alzheimer’s Research
Kristen O’Connell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Amy Dunn, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate
The Jackson Laboratory
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Amy Dunn: “Alzheimer’s disease is complex, with both genetic and environmental factors determining symptom onset and disease progression, though our current understanding of how genetic and environmental factors interact to influence disease risk is incomplete. We recently developed a panel of genetically diverse mice carrying human familial AD mutations (AD-BXDs) that better model human AD in order to determine how genetics and diet interact to modify disease onset and severity.
We fed a high fat diet to AD-BXDs and monitored metabolic and cognitive function over the duration of the HFD feeding. We observed accelerated working memory decline in most of the AD-BXD mouse strains, however, the impact of high fat diet on memory was dependent on individual genetic differences across the panel, with some AD-BXD strains maintaining cognitive function on high fat diet (resilient strains).
Our data suggest that diet and genetic background interact to mediate vulnerability to AD pathogenesis, and that metabolic factors (e.g. obesity, body composition) that may contribute to cognitive decline differentially in normal aging versus AD. “