FEB 11, 2020 8:48 PM PST

Soybean oil Causes Genetic Changes in Mouse Brain

WRITTEN BY: Amanda Mikyska

Source: Hypothalmus and limic system

 

Soybean oil is used for cooking fast food, in packaged products, and to feed livestock, making it the most widely consumed oil product by Americans.  Researchers at the University of California Riverside have again pinpointed soybean oil as the cause of unnatural and damaging genetic changes in the brain.  

In their most recent publication, the team at UC Riverside used a mouse model to show that soybean oil causes genes in the hypothalamus to be improperly regulated.  The function of the hypothalamus is to maintain homeostasis in the body, regulate hormonal and muscle responses, and maintain blood pressure.  

When the researchers at UC Riverside fed mice with a steady diet containing soybean oil, the hypothalamus was inconsistent in regulating genes under its domain and even dampening the efficiency of some genes.  For example, the activity of the gene that produces oxytocin, Oxt, (and subsequently oxytocin concentration) decreased in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus but increased in the rest of the hypothalamus and surrounding plasma regions.   

In their previous research, the same research team at UC Riverside found that soybean oil is linked to fatty liver tissue and inducing insulin resistance and diabetes.  A 2017 study from the group argues that the linoleic acid fats in soybean oil could be causing the induction of insulin resistance and diabetes.  Still, their most recent study shows that soybean oil disorganizes molecular activity in the hypothalamus, regardless of linoleic acid concentration.  

Despite the clear connections the researchers have made in mouse models, the team stresses that connections made in mouse models do not always apply to humans.  With more research comparing different types of oil and long term studies in humans, the effects of these products can be put into context.

 

Sources: Deol et. al. (2020), Deol et. al. (2017), Deol et. al. (2015), NeuroscienceNews, BrainMadeSimple

About the Author
  • Amanda graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in Biology. After working in research on creating biochemicals from genetically engineered yeast, she started freelance science writing while traveling the world. Now, Amanda is a Lab Manager and Research Assistant at the the University of Central Florida, studying the molecular phylogeny of parasitic wasps. She writes about the latest research in Neuroscience, Genetics & Genomics, and Immunology. Interested in working on solutions for food/water security, sustainable fuel, and sustainable farming. Amanda is an avid skier, podcast listener, and has run two triathlons.
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