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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #168083


item Shukitt-hale, Barbara
item Carey, Amanda
item Casadesus, Gemma
item Galli, Rachel
item Joseph, James

Submitted to: Society for Neuroscience Abstracts and Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2003
Publication Date: 11/8/2003
Citation: Shukitt Hale, B., Carey, A.N., Casadesus, G., Galli, R.L., Joseph, J.A. 2003. Mechanisms involved in blueberry enhancements of motor and cognitive function in young and old rats. Soc. Neurosci. Abs. 2003, 29. 633.14

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Aged rats show decrements in performance on motor and cognitive tasks that require the use of spatial learning and memory. Previous research in our lab and others has shown that these deficits can be retarded or even reversed by the phytochemicals in blueberries (BBs), possibly by increasing antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory levels, or by direct effects on signaling, in the brain. This study extends these findings by examining the effect of BBs as a function of age, to continue to explore the mechanisms involved in these effects. Young (6 mo) and old (19 mo) F344 rats were fed a control or 2% BB diet for 2 months (n=20/group) prior to motor (rod and plank walk, wire suspension, inclined screen, accelerating rotarod) and cognitive testing (8-arm radial water maze, RAWM). For RAWM testing, rats were placed in the maze in different start arms with the same goal arm for 3 days (5 trials/day); the goal arm was changed on day 4 and again on day 5. Results indicated that BBs improved performance on the inclined screen (p<0.05) and tended to decreased latency to fall in the wire suspension (p=0.09) and large plank (p=0.09) in young rats, while in the old animals rotarod performance was enhanced (p<0.05). As we have seen previously in old rats, latency to find the platform in the RAWM was decreased by the BB diet in young rats on the last trial of Day 1 (p<0.05) as well as the first trial on Day 3 (p<0.05). Preliminary analyses have indicated that at least one mechanism that may be involved in these beneficial effects is enhancement of endogenous protection against oxidative stress, since H2O2-exposed striatal cells from the BB-fed aged animals showed higher oxotremorine-enhanced DA release than controls. We are presently assessing MAP-kinase signaling and neurogenesis in these animals, to determine if enhancements in these parameters may also be involved