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Mitochondrial metabolism and neuroinflammation in the cerebral cortex and cortical synapses of rats: effect of milk intake through DNA methylation

Trinchese, G., Feola, A., Cavaliere, G., Cimmino,F., Catapano, A., Penna, E., Scala, G., Greco, L., Bernardo, L., Porcellini, A., Crispino, M., Pezone, A., & Maria Pina Mollica

Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2024 Mar 20:109624

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Brain plasticity and cognitive functions are tightly influenced by foods or nutrients, which determine a metabolic modulation having a long-term effect on health, involving also epigenetic mechanisms. Breast milk or formula based on cow milk is the first food for human beings, who, throughout their lives, are then exposed to different types of milk.
We previously demonstrated that rats fed with milk derived from distinct species, with different compositions and nutritional properties, display selective modulation of systemic metabolic and inflammatory profiles through changes of mitochondrial functions and redox state in liver, skeletal and cardiac muscle. Here, in a rat model, we demonstrated that isoenergetic supplementation of milk from cow (CM), donkey (DM) or human (HM) impacts mitochondrial functions and redox state in the brain cortex and cortical synapses, affecting neuroinflammation and synaptic plasticity. Interestingly, we found that the administration of different milk modulates DNA methylation in rat brain cortex and consequently affects gene expression. Our results emphasize the importance of nutrition in brain and synapse physiology, and highlight the key role played in this context by mitochondria, nutrient-sensitive organelles able to orchestrate metabolic and inflammatory responses.

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