Both oophorectomy and obesity impaired solely hippocampal-dependent memory via increased hippocampal dysfunction

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Abstract

Our previous study demonstrated that obesity aggravated peripheral insulin resistance and brain dysfunction in the ovariectomized condition. Conversely, the effect of obesity followed by oophorectomy on brain oxidative stress, brain apoptosis, synaptic function and cognitive function, particularly in hippocampal-dependent and hippocampal-independent memory, has not been investigated. Our hypothesis was that oophorectomy aggravated metabolic impairment, brain dysfunction and cognitive impairment in obese rats. Thirty-two female rats were fed with either a normal diet (ND, n=16) or a high-fat diet (HFD, n=16) for a total of 20weeks. At week 13, rats in each group were subdivided into sham and ovariectomized subgroups (n=8/subgroup). At week 20, all rats were tested for hippocampal-dependent and hippocampal-independent memory by using Morris water maze test (MWM) and Novel objective recognition (NOR) tests, respectively. We found that the obese-insulin resistant condition occurred in sham-HFD-fed rats (HFS), ovariectomized-ND-fed rats (NDO), and ovariectomized-HFD-fed rats (HFO). Increased hippocampal oxidative stress level, increased hippocampal apoptosis, increased hippocampal synaptic dysfunction, decreased hippocampal estrogen level and impaired hippocampal-dependent memory were observed in HFS, NDO, and HFO rats. However, the hippocampal-independent memory, cortical estrogen levels, cortical ROS production, and cortical apoptosis showed no significant difference between groups. These findings suggested that oophorectomy and obesity exclusively impaired hippocampal-dependent memory, possibly via increased hippocampal dysfunction. Nonetheless, oophorectomy did not aggravate these deleterious effects under conditions of obesity.

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