To investigate potential dietary risk factors of Alzheimer's disease (AD), triple transgenic (3xTg-AD) mice were exposed from 4 to 13 months of age to diets with a low n-3:n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ratio incorporated in either low-fat (5% w/w) or high-fat (35% w/w) formulas and compared with a control diet. The n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio was decreased independently of the dietary treatments in the frontal cortex of 3xTg-AD mice compared to non-transgenic littermates.

Consumption of a high-fat diet with a low n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio increased amyloid-beta (Abeta) 40 and 42 concentrations in detergent-insoluble extracts of parieto-temporal cortex homogenates from 3xTg-AD mice. Low n-3:n-6 PUFA intake ratio increased insoluble tau regardless of total fat consumption, whereas high-fat diet incorporating a low n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio also increased soluble tau compared to controls.

Moreover, the high-fat diet decreased cortical levels of the postsynaptic marker drebrin, while leaving presynaptic proteins synaptophysin, SNAP-25 and syntaxin 3 unchanged.

Overall, these results suggest that high-fat consumption combined with low n-3 PUFA intake promote AD-like neuropathology.