Dietary vitamin A supplementation prevents early obesogenic diet-induced microbiota, neuronal and cognitive alterations

Type Article

Journal Article


E. F. Biyong; S. Alfos; F. Dumetz; J. C. Helbling; A. Aubert; J. Brossaud; A. Foury; M. P. Moisan; S. Layé; E. Richard; E. Patterson; K. Murphy; K. Rea; C. Stanton; H. Schellekens; J. F. Cryan; L. Capuron; V. Pallet; G. Ferreira

Year of publication



Int J Obes (Lond)








BACKGROUND: Early consumption of obesogenic diets, rich in saturated fat and added sugar, is associated with a plethora of biological dysfunctions, at both peripheral and brain levels. Obesity is also linked to decreased vitamin A bioavailability, an essential molecule for brain plasticity and memory function. METHODS: Here we investigated in mice whether dietary vitamin A supplementation (VAS) could prevent some of the metabolic, microbiota, neuronal and cognitive alterations induced by obesogenic, high-fat and high-sugar diet (HFSD) exposure from weaning to adulthood, i.e. covering periadolescent period. RESULTS: As expected, VAS was effective in enhancing peripheral vitamin A levels as well as hippocampal retinoic acid levels, the active metabolite of vitamin A, regardless of the diet. VAS attenuated HFSD-induced excessive weight gain, without affecting metabolic changes, and prevented alterations of gut microbiota α-diversity. In HFSD-fed mice, VAS prevented recognition memory deficits but had no effect on aversive memory enhancement. Interestingly, VAS alleviated both HFSD-induced higher neuronal activation and lower glucocorticoid receptor phosphorylation in the hippocampus after training. CONCLUSION: Dietary VAS was protective against the deleterious effects of early obesogenic diet consumption on hippocampal function, possibly through modulation of the gut-brain axis.