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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: The Effects of Tart Cherries on Age-Related Changes in Behavior and Inflammation

Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

Project Number: 1950-51000-081-06
Project Type: Trust

Start Date: Jan 01, 2012
End Date: Dec 30, 2014

Objective:
To illustrate the putative role of tart cherry in nutritional interventions on brain aging and behavior. This project will contribute to fundamental knowledge of the roles of cherry polyphenolics in reducing inflammatory stress signaling and the resulting cognitive, motor and neuronal deficits. Also, to determine the role of dietary cherry in altering autophagy, a cellular repair mechanism, in promoting protein homeostasis during aging. Importantly, this information can then be utilized to show that the addition of tart cherry to the diet may increase the “health span” in aging, and possibly slow the aging process.

Approach:
Rats will initially be purchased and maintained on a diet containing 2% tart cherry. Rats will then complete a battery of motor tests as well as cognitive testing in the Morris water maze. Following behavioral testing, areas of the rats’ brains, specific to learning, memory, and motor coordination, will be examined for a variety of inflammatory biomarkers using immunohistochemistry. Brains will also be evaluated for a variety of proteins involved in autophagy. Finally, we will determine whether the efficacies of cherry supplementation in the behavioral assays are associated with enhanced resistance to oxidative stressors and alterations in autophagy markers.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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