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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of heavy particle irradiation on diet on object recognition memory in rats

Authors
item Rabin, Bernard -
item Carrihill-Knoll, Kirsty -
item Hinchman, Marie -
item SHUKITT-HALE, BARBARA
item Joseph, James
item Foster, Brian -

Submitted to: Advances in Space Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 16, 2009
Publication Date: March 20, 2009
Citation: Rabin, B.M., Carrihill-Knoll, K., Hinchman, M., Shukitt Hale, B., Joseph, J.A., Foster, B.C. 2009. Effects of heavy particle irradiation on diet on object recognition memory in rats. Advances in Space Research. 43:1193-1199.

Interpretive Summary: On long duration missions to other planets astronauts will be exposed to types and doses of radiation that are not experienced in low earth orbit. Previous research has shown that exposure to heavy particles, such as iron, disrupts spatial learning and memory measured using a cognitive test. Maintaining rats on diets containing antioxidants for eight weeks prior to irradiation ameliorated this deficit. The present experiments were designed to determine: (1) the generalization of the heavy particle induced disruption of memory by examining the effects of exposure to iron particles on memory; and (2) whether maintaining rats on these antioxidant diets for two-weeks prior to irradiation would also ameliorate any potential deficit. The results showed that exposure to low doses of iron particles does disrupt memory and that maintaining rats on antioxidant diets containing blueberry and strawberry extract for only two weeks was effective in ameliorating the disruptive effects of irradiation. The results are discussed in terms of the methods by which exposure to these particles may produce effects of brain performance.

Technical Abstract: On long duration missions to other planets astronauts will be exposed to types and doses of radiation that are not experienced in low earth orbit. Previous research using a ground-based model for exposure to cosmic rays has shown that exposure to heavy particles, such as 56Fe, disrupts spatial learning and memory measured using the Morris water maze. Maintaining rats on diets containing antioxidant phytochemicals for eight weeks prior to irradiation ameliorated this deficit. The present experiments were designed to determine: (1) the generality of the particle-induced disruption of memory by examining the effects of exposure to 56Fe particles on object recognition memory; and (2) whether maintaining rats on these antioxidant diets for two-weeks prior to irradiation would also ameliorate any potential deficit. The results showed that exposure to low doses of 56Fe particles does disrupt recognition memory and that maintaining rats on antioxidant diets containing blueberry and strawberry extract for only 2 weeks was effective in ameliorating the disruptive effects of irradiation. The results are discussed in terms of the mechanisms by which exposure to these particles may produce effects on neurocognitive performance.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014