Models and mechanisms for hippocampal dysfunction in obesity and diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Clinical studies suggest that obesity and Type 2 (insulin-resistant) diabetes impair the structural integrity of medial temporal lobe regions involved in memory and confer greater vulnerability to neurological insults. While eliminating obesity and its endocrine comorbidities would be the most straightforward way to minimize cognitive risk, structural barriers to physical activity and the widespread availability of calorically dense, highly palatable foods will likely necessitate additional strategies to maintain brain health over the lifespan. Research in rodents has identified numerous correlates of hippocampal functional impairment in obesity and diabetes, with several studies demonstrating causality in subsequent mechanistic studies. This review highlights recent work on pathways and cell-cell interactions underlying the synaptic consequences of obesity, diabetes, or in models with both pathological conditions. Although the mechanisms vary across different animal models, immune activation has emerged as a shared feature of obesity and diabetes, with synergistic exacerbation of neuroinflammation in model systems with both conditions. This review discusses these findings with reference to the benefits of incorporating existing models from the fields of obesity and metabolic disease. Many transgenic lines with basal metabolic alterations or differential susceptibility to diet-induced obesity have yet to be characterized with respect to their cognitive and synaptic phenotype. Adopting these models, and building on the extensive knowledge base used to generate them, is a promising avenue for understanding interactions between peripheral disease states and neurodegenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Nov 19 2015


  • Diabetes
  • Hippocampus
  • Insulin resistance
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Obesity
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Models and mechanisms for hippocampal dysfunction in obesity and diabetes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this