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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #351655

Title: Berry fruit differentially improves age-related decrements in behavior based on baseline status

item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara
item MILLER, MARSHALL - Duke University
item BIELINSKI, DONNA - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Fisher, Derek

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/17/2018
Publication Date: 8/19/2018
Citation: Shukitt Hale, B., Miller, M.G., Bielinski, D.F., Fisher, D.R. 2018. Berry fruit differentially improves age-related decrements in behavior based on baseline status [abstract]. American Chemical Society Abstracts. 256th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition Program. #AGFD 24.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Aging and neurodegenerative diseases are thought to be the results of prolonged effects of oxidative stress and inflammation. Previously, we have shown that daily supplementation of berry fruits, such as blueberry or raspberry, was able to reverse age-related deficits in behavioral and neuronal function in aged rats. However, because there are various degrees of age-related decline and inflammation status observed in the general population, it is possible that daily berry supplementation would have differential effects that are dependent on baseline cognitive performance. Therefore, to examine the effect of individual differences on the efficacy of dietary berry fruit, two studies explored the interaction between baseline performance and the amount of berry fruit required to improve/preserve behavioral function. In the first, aged rats (17 mo old) were assessed for baseline cognitive status via the radial arm water maze (RAWM) and divided into good, average, and poor performers based on errors committed. Half of the rats in each cognitive group were then fed a control or a 2% BB diet for 8 weeks, before being re-tested in RAWM. In the second, aged rats (17 mo old) were tested for baseline motor performance and divided into good, average and poor performers based on their motor composite score, which was comprised of tests for strength, balance, and endurance. Rats in each category were fed for 8 weeks with a 0%, 1%, or 2% raspberry-supplemented diet before being re-tested. In both studies, serum samples were collected pre-diet and at the end of the study to assess inflammation. Overall, daily consumption of berries in aged rats improved some age-related deficits in cognition and motor performance, as well as preserved function among those with intact ability. Subsequent in vitro studies using the serum showed that performance was associated with innate anti-inflammation capability, and berry supplementation further enhanced this capability. Based on these findings, daily consumption of berry fruit in rats had differential effects on cognition and motor performance, and poor performers with increased inflammation are most likely to benefit from berry fruit intake.