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Keywords:

  • corticosterone;
  • fat intake;
  • hippocampus;
  • memory;
  • obesity

High fat diets and obesity pose serious health problems, such as type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Impaired cognitive function is also associated with high fat intake. In this study, we show that just 4 weeks of feeding a diet rich in fat ad libitum decreased hippocampal neurogenesis in male, but not female, rats. There was no obesity, but male rats fed a diet rich in fat exhibited elevated serum corticosterone levels compared with those fed standard rat chow. These data indicate that high dietary fat intake can disrupt hippocampal neurogenesis, probably through an increase in serum corticosterone levels, and that males are more susceptible than females.