Effects of ketogenic diet on cognitive functions of mice fed high-fat-high-cholesterol diet

Dai Ting Lin, Ning Juo Kao, Tzu Wen Liu Cross, Wei Ju Lee, Shyh Hsiang Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Long-term dietary intake of elevated levels of refined sugars, fats and cholesterols is among the factors causing cognitive impairment. Ketone bodies can be used as an alternative energy source when glucose is not available. The study investigated the effects of a ketogenic diet (medium chain triglyceride, MCT) on cognitive performance after a long-term consumption of a high-fat-high-cholesterol diet using a mice model. Seventy eight-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were fed an HFHC diet for 16 weeks to establish a model of an HFHC dietary pattern, before receiving intervention diets containing MCT diet or with Metformin for another 8 weeks in the second part of the experiment. Spatial learning, memory performance, and cortical and hippocampal protein expression levels were assessed. After consuming the HFHC diet for 16 weeks and subsequently receiving the MCT diet for 8 weeks, results showed that the mice fed a MCT diet had significantly better spatial learning and memory performance, lower expression of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), amyloid protein precursor (APP) and phosphate tau, and higher expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) than the mice fed the HFHC diet. Long-term consumption of an HFHC diet caused a decline in cognitive functions and increased the risk factors for neurodegeneration, such as BBB permeability, neuropathy and inflammation. An MCT diet can be considered as an option for slowing down the early stage of neurodegeneration in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108974
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Medium chain triglyceride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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