Nencki Institue Seminar

Dear All,

This Thursday, December 17th, at 3pm, Angelika Więckowska-Gacek, who is a PhD student working at the Laboratory of Preclinical Testing of Higher Standard, under the supervision of prof. Urszula Wojda, will give a lecture entitled: Western diet under scrutiny: a new insight into Alzheimer’s disease development.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an aging-dependent, irreversible neurodegenerative disorder and the most common cause of dementia. The prevailing AD hypothesis points to the central role of altered cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and formation of toxic amyloid-β (Aβ) and hyperphosphorylated tau deposits in the brain. The lack of efficient AD treatments stems from incomplete knowledge on AD causes and environmental risk factors. The role of lifestyle factors, including diet, in neurological diseases is now beginning to attract considerable attention. One of them is western diet (WD), which can lead to many serious diseases that develop with age.

WD defines a pattern of nourishment characterized by high-caloric, ultra-processed foods made from refined substances, with a combination of simple carbohydrates, saturated fatty acids, and cholesterol, with deficient in vitamins and microelements. WD induces obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension, collectively known as metabolic syndrome. All these systemic alterations cause a whole-body low-grade inflammatory state which can impact brain functions.

The aim of the study was to investigate whether WD-induced metabolic and inflammatory systemic disturbances may accelerate the brain neuroinflammation and amyloidogenesis at the early, presymptomatic stages of AD development.

To verify this hypothesis, transgenic mice expressing human APP with AD-causing mutations (APPswe) were fed with WD from the 3rd month of age and compared to APPswe mice fed with a standard diet. To follow the sequence of molecular mechanisms caused by WD feeding, animals were sequentially analyzed in groups at 4-, 8-, 12- and 16-months of age. As verified in our preliminary study, control APPswe mice 4-, 8- and 12-months old represent earlier pre-symptomatic stages of AD, while 16-months animals represent later stages of AD, with visible amyloid pathology in the brain.

Even short-term (3 weeks) WD feeding in this AD mouse model induced such brain neuroinflammation events as enhanced astrogliosis in 4-months old animals. Later, after 5 months of feeding, i.e. in 8-months old mice, WD caused microglia activation. Also, WD feeding accelerated Aβ aggregation and deposition of senile plaques, observed already in 8-months old animals. In overall, compared to control animals, WD accelerated development of neuroinflammation and Aβ plaques deposition by 8 months. These brain changes were preceded by WD-induced metabolic disorders, such as hypercholesterolemia in 4-month of age, and hyperglycaemia and NAFLD in 8- months old mice.

These results indicate that the westernized pattern of nourishment is an important factor accelerating AD development, and that a healthy, balanced, diet may be one of the most efficient AD prevention methods.

Funding Polish National Science Center grants: 2014/15/D/NZ4/04361, 2018/29/N/NZ7/01724.


We will use zoom, here is the link:
Meeting ID: 912 6224 3656
Passcode: 485625
One tap mobile
+48223987356,,91262243656#,,,,,,0#,,485625# Poland
+48223065342,,91262243656#,,,,,,0#,,485625# Poland
Dial by your location
+48 22 398 7356 Poland
+48 22 306 5342 Poland
+48 22 307 3488 Poland
Meeting ID: 912 6224 3656
Passcode: 485625
Find your local number:

10 December 2020
2020-12-17 15:00:00
2020-12-17 17:00:00