Submitted to: Frontiers in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders: Fundamental Aspects, Clinical Perspectives and New Insights
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2004
Publication Date: November 15, 2004
Citation: Joseph, J.A., Shukitt Hale, B. 2004. Fruit polyphenolics and signaling in the aged brain:altering motor and cognitive deficits. In: Ozben, T., Chevion. M., editors. Frontiers in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders: Fundamental Aspects, Clinical Perspectives and New Insights. Amsterdam, The Netherlands:IOS Press. p. 170-181. Technical Abstract: Although research involving the molecular biology of and the determination of the genetic mechanisms of aging involves elegant science associated with state of the art techniques, it is evident that techniques useful in altering or reversing or forestalling the deleterious effects of aging may be years away. Thus, health care costs dictate that alternate approaches must be utilized to alter declines in aging, especially those involving neuronal function and behavior. Mechanistically, it appears that many of the changes with aging are the result of increased vulnerability to oxidative stress and inflammation especially in the CNS. Research from our laboratory and others suggests that reducing this vulnerability may translate into decreases in cognitive and motor function, as well as neuronal signaling. Numerous epidemiological studies have indicated that individuals who consume a diet containing high amounts of fruits and vegetables may prevent age-related disease such as Alzheimer Disease, and that these changes may result from the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of these fruits and vegetables. Research from our laboratory has suggested that dietary supplementation with fruit or vegetable extracts high in antioxidants (e.g., blueberry, BB, spinach) can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress (OS) that occurs in aging and these reductions are expressed as improvements in behavior. However, aditional research has suggested multiple mechanisms in addition to those involving the antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties of the polyphenolic compounds in these fruits and vegetables. The most important of which may be their ability to increase cellular signaling and neuronal communication. The present review discusses these beneficial properties of fruits such as berryfruits with a view toward suggesting that they may be employed to reduce the deleterious effects of aging.