Submitted to: Society for Neuroscience Abstracts and Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/5/2006
Publication Date: 10/14/2006
Citation: Goyarzu, P., Malin, D.H., Moon, W.D., Moy, E., Moy, D., Jennings, R., Lippold, S., Shukitt Hale, B., Joseph, J.A. 2006. A blueberry-enriched antioxidant diet reduces an age-related deficit in one trial per day discriminative reward learning. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts and Proceedings.
Technical Abstract: It has been reported that an antioxidant-rich, blueberry-supplemented rat diet may slow brain aging in the rat and protect against age-related memory impairment as measured by such tasks as the water maze and visual object recognition. The present study determined whether such supplementation could prevent impaired performance on a one-trial per day discriminative reward learning task in aged Fischer-344 rats. Nine aged rats (18 months old at time of testing) were fed a 2% blueberry supplemented diet for 3 months prior to testing. Ten aged rats and ten young rats (7 months old at time of testing) were fed a control diet. After partial food deprivation, they were evaluated for errors and latency to reward on a one trial per day discriminative reward learning task that has previously been sensitive to the effects of aging. The apparatus was a five-alley sunburst maze with one baited alley with an ascending ramp, contrasting with four level un-baited alleys. Rats received a baseline learning trial and three successive daily retention trials. Three x three ANOVA (groups x days) with one repeated-measures variable (days) revealed a significant group effect. Post-hoc analysis revealed that the aged control diet rats made significantly more errors (entrances into un-baited alleys) than the young rats, averaged over the three retention trials. The aged blueberry diet rats did not differ significantly from the young controls. The aged rats maintained on the control diet failed to display significant overall learning as indicated by no significant negative linear trend of errors or latency to reward as a function of trials (beginning with the baseline trial). In contrast, both the young rats and the aged rats maintained on the blueberry-enriched diet achieved significant overall learning as indicated by a significant negative linear trend of both errors and latency as a function of trials. This result adds to an emerging pattern of evidence that diets enriched with natural antioxidants may offer some protection against aging-induced memory impairment.