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Publication Detail
High dietary fat consumption impairs axonal mitochondrial function in vivo
Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is the most common complication of prediabetes and diabetes. PN causes severe morbidity for type 2 diabetes (T2D) and prediabetes patients, including limb pain followed by numbness resulting from peripheral nerve damage. PN in T2D and prediabetes is associated with dyslipidemia and elevated circulating lipids; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying PN development in prediabetes and T2D are unknown. Peripheral nerve sensory neurons rely on axonal mitochondria to provide energy for nerve impulse conduction under homeostatic conditions. Models of dyslipidemia in vitro demonstrate mitochondrial dysfunction in sensory neurons exposed to elevated levels of exogenous fatty acids. Herein, we evaluated the effect of dyslipidemia on mitochondrial function and dynamics in sensory axons of the saphenous nerve of a male high-fat diet (HFD)-fed murine model of prediabetes to identify mitochondrial alterations that correlate with PN pathogenesis in vivo We found that the HFD decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in axonal mitochondria and reduced the ability of sensory neurons to conduct at physiological frequencies. Unlike mitochondria in control axons, which dissipated their MMP in response to increased impulse frequency (from 1 to 50 Hz), HFD mitochondria dissipated less MMP in response to axonal energy demand, suggesting a lack of reserve capacity. The HFD also decreased sensory axonal Ca2+ levels and increased mitochondrial lengthening and expression of PGC1α, a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. Together, these results suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction underlies an imbalance of axonal energy and Ca2+ levels and impairs impulse conduction within the saphenous nerve in prediabetic PN.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:Diabetes and prediabetes are leading causes of peripheral neuropathy (PN) worldwide. PN has no cure, but development in diabetes and prediabetes is associated with dyslipidemia, including elevated levels of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids impair mitochondrial dynamics and function in cultured neurons, indicating a role for mitochondrial dysfunction in PN progression; however, the effect of elevated circulating fatty acids on the peripheral nervous system in vivo is unknown. In this study, Sajic et al. identify early pathogenic events in sensory nerve axons of mice with high-fat diet-induced PN, including alterations in mitochondrial function, axonal conduction, and intra-axonal calcium, that provide important insight into potential PN mechanisms associated with prediabetes and dyslipidemia in vivo.
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