Long-term consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage during the growth period promotes social aggression in adult mice with proinflammatory responses in the brain.
Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 10 ;7:45693. Epub 2017 Apr 10. PMID: 28393871
Overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is known to be a key contributor to the obesity epidemic; however, its effects on behavioral changes are yet to be fully studied. In the present study, we examined the long-term effects of SSB on social aggression in mice. Three-week-old weaned mice started to drink either a 30 w/v% sucrose solution (S30), plain water (CT), or an aspartame solution with sweetness equivalent to the sucrose solution (A30) and continued to drink until they were 11-week-old adults. Aggressive behaviors were assessed by the resident-intruder test. We found that SSB significantly promoted social aggression, accompanied by heightened serum corticosterone and reduced body weight. To understand the underlying mechanism, we performed transcriptome analyses of brain. The profiles of mice on S30 were dramatically different from those on CT or A30. Transcriptional networks related to immunological function were significantly dysregulated by SSB. FACS analysis of mice on S30 revealed increased numbers of inflammatory cells in peripheral blood. Interestingly, the artificial sweetener failed to mimic the effects of sugar on social aggression and inflammatory responses. These results demonstrate that SSB promotes aggressive behaviors and provide evidence that sugar reduction strategies may be useful in efforts to prevent social aggression.