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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NEUROCOGNITION/NEUROSCIENCE

Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

Title: Neuronal stress following exposure to 56Fe particles and the effects of antioxidant-rich diets

Authors
item Poulose, Shibu
item Bielinski, Donna -
item Carrihill-Knoll, Kirsty L. -
item Rabin, Bernard M. -
item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara

Submitted to: Journal of Radiation Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 4, 2013
Publication Date: February 28, 2014
Citation: Poulose, S.M., Bielinski, D., Carrihill-Knoll, K., Rabin, B., Shukitt Hale, B. 2014. Neuronal stress following exposure to 56Fe particles and the effects of antioxidant-rich diets. Journal of Radiation Research. 55:73-74. DOI: 10.1093/jrr/rrt155.

Interpretive Summary: Exposing young rats to radiation is a model for exposure of astronauts to cosmic rays and also a model of aging, because it causes the same oxidative stress and inflammation, and disrupts the same brain functions, as seen in aging. Berry fruits high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, such as blueberries and strawberries, may prevent these harmful changes if fed prior to irradiation. Rats fed either a control or a 2% blueberry or strawberry diet for 8 weeks were exposed to radiation. Neurochemical changes in rat brains were analyzed at 36 hours (short-term) or 30 days following irradiation (long-term). Results of the experiments indicate that: (1) Radiation caused significant changes in critical regions of the brain, particularly long-term, and these changes included the accumulation of toxic brain cellular debris, increased inflammation and oxidative stress, and the accumulation of disease-related proteins that have been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease; (2) Antioxidant-rich berry diets significantly reduced inflammation, oxidative stress, and the accumulation of toxic brain cellular debris, primarily at the long-term time-point; the diets also boosted the level of the brain’s own antioxidant enzymes in proportion to the other changes. Thus, diets rich in berries high in antioxidants may be used to counter the damaging effects of radiation and aging.

Technical Abstract: Exposing young rats to particles of high energy and charge (HZE particles), a ground-based model for exposure to cosmic rays, enhances indices of oxidative stress and inflammation and disrupts the functioning of neuronal communication in critical regions of the brain, similar to those seen in aging. Berry fruits high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, such as blueberries and strawberries, may prevent the occurrence of neurochemical and behavioral changes that occur if fed prior to radiation. Rats fed either a control or a 2% blueberry or strawberry diet for 8 weeks were exposed to 56Fe irradiation. Rats were then either euthanized at 36 h (short-term) or 30 d following irradiation (long-term). Results of the experiments indicate that: (1) 56Fe exposure caused significant differential, neurochemical changes in critical regions of the brain, particularly long-term. (2) Neurochemical changes resulted in the disruption of autophagy, increased inflammation and increased oxidative stress protein markers. (3) Antioxidant-rich berry diets significantly reduced the accumulation of toxic brain cellular debris, primarily at the 30 days post irradiation time-point. (4) Susceptibility to inflammation, autophagy dysregulation, and oxidative stress were proportional to the levels of antioxidant enzymes in the respective brain regions. (5) Exposure to 56Fe radiation may cause the accumulation of disease-related proteins such as PHF-Tau, which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Berry diets high in antioxidants may be used to counter the damaging effects of radiation by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, and activating neuronal housekeeping, in addition to boosting endogenous antioxidant enzymes.

Last Modified: 8/2/2014
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