Type 2 diabetes is associated with high-fat diets characterized by large amounts of saturated fats. In contrast, monounsaturated fatty acid-rich diets have been shown to have health benefits. Professor Eva Feldman and colleagues at the University of Michigan investigated how these two types of fats affect the progression of diabetic neuropathy, the most common complication of diabetes.
The researchers found switching mice from a saturated fat-based diet to a diet rich in monounsaturated fats derived from sunflower oil restored and protected nerve function in obese mice. Studying the beneficial effects of monounsaturated fats in sensory dorsal root ganglion neurons showed the intervention helped the cells maintain normal energy production.