The impact of a high fat diet on MeCP2 expression
Obesity is a prevalent disease that is impacting more of our global population every day. Although no known factor has been identified to cause obesity, the relationship between epigenetics and obesity is one potential underlying factor. Methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) is an epigenetic factor that is expressed in the hypothalamus and mutations in Mecp2 is associated with the neurodevelopmental disorder, Prader-Willi syndrome. Prader-Willi syndrome children are hyperphagic and obese. This experiment analyzed the differences after gestational and postnatal exposure to a high-fat (HF) diet on MeCP2 expression in both male and female mice. Gestational exposure to an HF diet significantly decreased MeCP2 expression in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus in male and female mice while no significant impact was seen during adulthood exposure. The data suggest that exposure to HF diet during developmentally sensitive time periods can impact MeCP2 expression in a sexually dimorphic way.
Creative Arts and Research Symposium