DHA reduces hypothalamic inflammation and improves central leptin signaling in mice
Aims: Anti-obesity effects and improved leptin sensitivity from n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have been reported in diet-induced obese animals. This study sought to determine the beneficial central effects and mechanism of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6 n-3) in high-fat (HF) diet fed mice. Main methods: Male C57BL/6J mice were given HF diet with or without intracerebroventricular (icv) injection of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6 n-3) for two days. Central leptin sensitivity, hypothalamic inflammation, leptin signaling molecules and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) were examined by central leptin sensitivity test and Western blot. Furthermore, the expression of hepatic genes involved in lipid metabolism was examined by RT-PCR. Key findings: We found that icv administration of DHA not only reduced energy intake and body weight gain but also corrected the HF diet-induced hypothalamic inflammation. DHA decreased leptin signaling inhibitor SOCS3 and improved the leptin JAK2-Akt signaling pathways in the hypothalamus. Furthermore, icv administration of DHA improved the effects of leptin in the regulation of mRNA expression of enzymes related to lipogenesis, fatty acid β-oxidation, and cholesterol synthesis in the liver. DHA increased leptin-induced activation of TH in the hypothalamus. Significance: Therefore, increasing central DHA concentration may prevent the deficit of hypothalamic regulation, which is associated with disorders of energy homeostasis in the liver as a result of a high-fat diet.