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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327812

Research Project: Nutrition, Brain, and Aging

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: The effects of blueberries on cognition and neuroplasticity

item CAREY, AMANDA - Simmons College
item ROVNAK, ABIGAIL - Simmons College
item GILDAWIE, KELSEA - Simmons College
item Fisher, Derek
item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2016
Publication Date: 8/21/2016
Citation: Carey, A.N., Rovnak, A.M., Gildawie, K.R., Fisher, D.R., Shukitt Hale, B. 2016. The effects of blueberries on cognition and neuroplasticity. [abstract]. 252nd American Chemical Society National Meeting, Program #AGFD 161.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: It has been demonstrated that consuming blueberries can prevent and even reverse the occurrence of neurochemical and behavioral changes associated with aging. Recent research suggests that consuming a high-fat diet (HFD) may result in behavioral deficits similar to those observed in aging animals. To determine if supplementation of a HFD with blueberries offers protection against behavioral declines, nine month old C57Bl/6 mice were fed low-fat diet (LFD) or HFD (60% calories from fat) with and without 4% freeze-dried blueberry (U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council) for 5 months. Novel object recognition memory was tested after 2, 3, and 4 months on the diets and the Morris water maze was used to assess spatial learning and memory after 5 months. Recognition memory was impaired in the HFD-fed mice at all time points, but mice fed HFD + blueberry showed a reversal of memory disruption after 4 months. Probe trial performance in the water maze was impaired in animals consuming the HFD, while animals on HFD + blueberry were not different from those on LFD. Brains of the mice were assessed for microglia activation, neuroplasticity by measuring brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and neurogenesis by measuring doublecortin (DCX). There was significantly less microglia staining with Iba1 in mice fed HFD + blueberry. Moreover, BV-2 microglial cells treated with blood serum from mice fed HFD + blueberry produced less nitric oxide in response to stimulation with LPS compared to cells treated with serum from mice fed HFD. BDNF levels and the number of DCX positive cells were enhanced in the hippocampus of mice fed HFD + blueberry. Overall, this study demonstrated that supplementation of a HFD with blueberry was associated with reduced indices of microglia activation and increased neuroplasticity and neurogenesis; these changes may underlie the reduction of memory deficits observed in these animals.