A high fat western diet attenuates phasic dopamine release


Natural rewards, such as food and social interaction, as well as drugs of abuse elicit increased mesolimbic dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Drugs of abuse, however, increase NAc dopamine release to a greater extent and are known to induce lasting changes on the functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine pathway. Less is known about the long-term effects of diet composition on this reward pathway. In the present study, two diets were compared: a higher-fat diet (Western Diet: WD) and a control diet (standard lab chow) on their effect on the mesolimbic dopamine system. Twenty male C57BL/6 J mice were placed on one of these diets at 7 weeks old. After twelve weeks on the diet, in vivo fixed potential amperometry was used to measure real-time stimulation-evoked dopamine release in the NAc of anesthetized mice before and after an i.p. injection of the dopamine transporter (DAT) inhibitor nomifensine. Results indicated that diet altered mesolimbic dopamine functioning. Mice that consumed the WD demonstrated a hypodopaminergic profile, specifically reduced baseline dopamine release and an attenuated dopaminergic response to DAT inhibition compared to the control diet group. Thus, diet may play a role in mediating dopamine-related behavior, disorders associated with dopamine dysfunction, and pharmacological treatments aimed at altering dopamine transmission.

Publication Title

Neuroscience Letters