Previous studies showed that 12 weeks of high-fat diet (HFD) consumption caused not only prediabetes but also cognitive decline and brain pathologies. Recently, necrostatin-1 (nec-1), a necroptosis inhibitor, showed beneficial effects in brain against stroke. However, the comparative effects of nec-1 and metformin on cognition and brain pathologies in prediabetes have not been investigated. We hypothesized that nec-1 and metformin equally attenuated cognitive decline and brain pathologies in prediabetic rats. Rats (n = 32) were fed with either normal diet (ND) or HFD for 20 weeks. At week 13, ND-fed rats were given a vehicle (n = 8) and HFD-fed rats were randomly assigned into three subgroups (n = 8/subgroup) with vehicle, nec-1, or metformin for 8 weeks. Metabolic parameters, cognitive function, brain insulin receptor function, synaptic plasticity, dendritic spine density, microglial morphology, brain mitochondrial function, Alzheimer protein, and cell death were determined. HFD-fed rats exhibited prediabetes, cognitive decline, and brain pathologies. Nec-1 and metformin equally improved cognitive function, synaptic plasticity, dendritic spine density, microglial morphology, and brain mitochondrial function and reduced hyperphosphorylated Tau and necroptosis in HFD-fed rats. Interestingly, metformin, but not nec-1, improved brain insulin sensitivity in those rats. In conclusion, necroptosis inhibition directly improved cognition in prediabetic rats without alteration in insulin sensitivity.
- Received November 11, 2019.
- Accepted April 17, 2020.
- © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association