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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: THE ROLE OF STRAWBERRIES ON COGNITION, MOTOR BEHAVIOR, NEURONAL FUNCTION AND MICROGLIAL ACTIVITY IN AGING: REDUCTIONS IN STRESS MEDIATORS

Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

Project Number: 1950-51000-070-04
Project Type: Trust

Start Date: Feb 01, 2008
End Date: Jan 31, 2013

Objective:
1: Determine the effects of SB supplementation on behavioral aging using paradigms sensitive to cognitive (short and long-term memories) behaviors. 2: Determine the effects of SB supplementation on calcium dependent and neuronal signaling (2) and neurogenesis (2b) correlate these with alterations in behavioral parameters determined in SA 1. 3: Determine whether the efficacies of these supplementations in the behavioral assays are associated with enhanced resistance to oxidative stress or inflammation. 4: Establish the effects of nutritional modulation (e.g., berry fruit) on behavioral (e.g., cognition, gait, force and balance) and neuronal deficits in aging to assess the mechanisms involved and the most effective dietary supplements in animal and human models.

Approach:
Aim 1. The effects of SB dietary supplementation (2% SB extract in the diet for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks performance will be examined in the rats using age-sensitive cognitive behaviors that are selective for reference and working memories. The latter behaviors will be assessed using the Morris water maze and the radial arm water maze, as well as novelty tests. All of these tests have been validated as being age sensitive (e.g. demonstrated a significant decline as a function of age). Aim 2. The effects of SB dietary supplementation on neurogenesis and differentiation will be examined using immunocytochemistry, bromodeoxyuridine (BrDU) incorporation in hippocampus and olfactory bulb obtained from the supplemented behaviorally-assessed animals Calcium signaling will be assessed by examining Ca45 clearance in tissues (as above) taken from the brain. Aim 3. For the basal assessments we will use immunohistochemistry to assess various markers of oxidative stress (e.g., HO-1) and inflammation (e.g., cytokines) as well as immunoblotting to detect HO-1 and bcl 2 expression. The responses of the tissue (muscarinic receptor sensitivity, HSP-70 activation) to oxidant (hydrogen peroxide, 10 uM) or inflammatory (LPS) stressors will be assessed by exposing cross-cut slices of the various brain regions obtained from the supplemented animals. Conduct studies using a specialized Noraxon treadmill in order to measure parameters of gait including balance, stepping up and down, and walking patterns in humans. The recently developed hardware by Noraxon will allow us to focus on more subtle variations in gait that include stride to stride fluctuations (e.g., symmetry) and associated alterations in electromyography (EMG). The Noraxon measurement system allows an objective kinematic analysis of the human gait by means of analyzing the tracks of body surface markers. Additionally, cognition will be measured with a battery of tests that measure memory and vigilance.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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