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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Research Project #433930

Research Project: Association of Neuroavailable Metabolites with Cognitive Alterations following Continuous or Intermittent Wild Blueberry Supplementation in Old Rats

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Project Number: 8050-51000-084-19-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2017
End Date: Oct 31, 2018

Objective:
The proposed study will quantify the neuroavailable polyphenolics in wild blueberries and how their accumulation in critical subregions of the brain impact cognitive and motor function. The study uses a rat model of aging to evaluate the beneficial effects of wild blueberries on motor and cognitive function relative to the distribution of blueberry metabolites within the brain and the frequency of blueberry consumption. Aim 1) To determine the levels of blueberry phytochemicals and their metabolites present in different brain regions (striatum, hippocampus, cortex, and cerebellum). Aim 2) To determine the relationship between concentrations of blueberry bioactives in different brain regions and changes in motor and cognitive performance. Aim 3) To determine the differential effects of intermittent and continuous supplementation with blueberry. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that dietary supplementation with wild blueberry will increase levels of phytochemical metabolites in the brain, that levels in various subregions of the brain will correlate with behavior, and that intermittent supplementation, compared to continuous feeding, will modify these outcomes.

Approach:
We propose to supplement the diets of aged F344 rats (17 mo; n = 15/group) with either a continuous control diet (modified NIH-31 diet), a continuous 2% blueberry diet, or intermittent 2% blueberry diet for 2 months prior to behavioral testing. Rats in the intermittent 2% blueberry diet group will consume the 2% blueberry diet for 3 days, followed by a 4-day control diet (washout period) each week for the duration of the study. Blood will be collected from lateral tail vein prior to feeding. Urine and feces will collected in metabolic cages during week 1 and week 8 of feeding. Rats will complete a battery of motor tests to test balance (rod and planks), strength (inclined screen, wire hang), and coordination (rotarod); as well as water-maze testing starting in week 9. Following behavior, rats will be sacrificed and their brains dissected. Brain regions will be shipped to our collaborator for HPLC-ESI-MS/MS analysis (SCIEX QTRAP) of blueberry phytochemicals and their metabolites in the brain.