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Revista Ecuatoriana de Neurología

On-line version ISSN 2631-2581Print version ISSN 1019-8113


VASCONEZ-GONZALEZ, Jorge et al. Alterations In The Nervous System Produced By Obesity. Rev Ecuat Neurol [online]. 2022, vol.31, n.2, pp.65-73. ISSN 2631-2581.


The central nervous system as well as the cardiovascular system are target organs, susceptible to endogenous and exogenous injuries. In this sense, the role that obesity has in relation to the direct or indirect affection towards the nervous tissue is little known, however, there is evidence that suggests that the decrease in cerebral blood flow as well as the exaggerated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines could be associated with damage to cellular tissue including gray matter and white matter.


The objective of our study was to review the available scientific literature on the macro and microstructural changes caused by obesity in the nervous system.


Searches were made in English and Spanish in PubMed, GoogleSchoolar and Scielo using the following search terms: “OBESITY” OR “OVERWEIGHT” AND “BRAIN STRUCTURE” OR “GRAY MATTER” OR “WHITE MATTER” OR “BRAIN VOLUME”. We included articles since 2000 to 2021.


The results show that obesity is associated with a decrease in brain tissue volume, possibly at the expense of a decrease in white and gray matter, which also causes demyelination and diffuse axonal damage in patients with body mass index > 30.


There are different mechanisms that affect the nervous system, producing macro and microscopic changes in obese patients, among which are decreased blood flow, alteration of the blood-brain barrier, production of proinflammatory cytokines, production of reactive oxygen species, among others, which lead to nerve cell apoptosis, decreased white matter volume white and gray matter volume, axonal damage among others.

Keywords : Obesity; CNS; gray matter; white matter; neurons..

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