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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Spangler, Edward
item Duffy, Kara
item Devon, B
item Guo, Z
item Bowker, J
item Shukitt-hale, Barbara
item Joseph, James
item Ingram, Donald

Submitted to: Society for Neuroscience Abstracts and Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2003
Publication Date: 11/8/2003
Citation: Spangler, E., Duffy, K., Devon, B., Guo, Z., Bowker, J., Shukitt Hale, B., Joseph, J.A., Ingram, D.K. 2003. Rats fed a blueberry-enriched diet exhibit greater protection against a kainate-induced learning impairment. Soc. Neurosci. Abs. 2003, 29, 638.12.

Interpretive Summary: NOT NEEDED

Technical Abstract: Blueberries belong to a group of fruits and vegetables containing polyphenolic compounds reported to provide neuroprotective effects that forestall age-related functional declines and improve age-related performance (Joseph et al. Mech Ageing Dev. 116:141, 2000). We have examined whether a diet enriched in blueberries can provide protection against excitotoxicity in rats. Male F-344 rats 3 months old were introduced to either a control (CN; NIH-31) diet or a 2% blueberry (BB) extract diet (BB replaces corn in NIH-31) for 8-10 weeks. While on the diet, there were no differences in mean body weight or mean food consumption between the two groups. Rats then received bilateral injections of kainate acid (KA 200 ng/ul) or insertion of the injection needle as sham controls to the dorsal hippocampus. Eight days later they were evaluated in a 14-unit T-maze task that has proven sensitive to aging and hippocampal dysfunction (Ingram et al. Ann. NYAS 786:348, 1996). Following KA treatment, rats on the CN diet exhibited a marked learning impairment in the maze task compared to sham controls on both diets. Rats on the BB diet exhibited learning impairment following KA treatment, but the impairment was significantly less than that observed in the CN group following KA treatment. After histological examination of brains, we observed loss in CA3 and CA1 neuronal populations in KA-injected rats. We are currently examining potential mechanisms for this neuroprotective effect.

Last Modified: 05/25/2017
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