Food for Thought: How diet composition impacts on brain functions in adult rodents and their offspring

Chair: Maria Florencia Rossetti

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The rapid increase in the incidence of obesity and associated diseases during the last decades is primarily attributed to excessive consumption of palatable, energy-dense diets, including high-fat and high-fat/high-sugar diets, combined with sedentary lifestyles. Importantly, these diets have critical effects on brain and mood, including brain inflammation, homeostatic system disturbance, synaptic and behavioral plasticity decline and social deficits. Moreover, the offspring could also be influenced by the maternal nutritional experience during critical periods of fetal and early postnatal development. In this sense, the exposure to a maternal diet dominated by palatable food and/or high-fat diet before and during pregnancy and throughout lactation, disturbs glucose and lipid homeostasis, predisposes to adiposity, unbalances the gut microbiota, modifies food preference and alters the development of the central reward circuitry in the offspring after birth and later in life. In this context, the goal of the symposium is to engage the audience in a lively discussion about recently published and unpublished findings related to the impact of diet composition on brain functions, focusing on food intake control and cognition, in adult rodents and their offspring. We will explore genomic, hologenomic and behavioral alterations to elucidate possible new mechanisms involved on these functions and to identify potential therapeutic targets for metabolic and neurodevelopmental disorders.