Behav Brain Res. 2009 (Mar 17); 198 (2): 352–358
Papandreou MA1, Dimakopoulou A, Linardaki ZI, Cordopatis P,
Klimis-Zacas D, Margarity M, Lamari FN.
Laboratory of Human & Animal Physiology,
Department of Biology,
University of Patras, Greece.
Blueberry is very high in polyphenol content, so it can provide powerful antioxidant protection. A fortunate group of mice were fed an extract from blueberry for 7 days by these Greek physiologists. During testing, this blueberry-enhanced group of mice exhibited significant improvements in their memory and their ability to learn new tasks. The authors concluded that: “These findings stress the critical impact of wild blueberry bio-active components on brain function.”
The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a polyphenol-rich extract (PrB) of Vaccinium angustifolium (wild blueberries) introduced intraperitoneally (i.p.) at 30 (PrB30) and 60 (PrB60) mg/kg body weight for 7 days, on cognitive performance, brain oxidative status and acetylcholinesterase activity in adult, male, 3-4-month-old Balb-c mice. Evaluation of rodent learning and memory was assessed by a step-through test on day 6 after a double training and an initial acquisition trial on day 5. Antioxidant status was determined by ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), ascorbic acid concentration (FRASC), malondialdehyde and reduced glutathione levels in whole brain homogenates. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was determined by Ellman's colorimetric method. Results showed that the PrB60-treated mice exhibited a significant improvement in learning and memory (step-through latency time of 228+/-38 s compared to 101+/-32 s of the control group). PrB extract administration also resulted in reduced lipid peroxidation products (38 and 79%) and higher brain ascorbic acid levels (21 and 64%) in both PrB30 and PrB60-treated groups, respectively, and higher glutathione levels (28%) in the PrB60-treated group. Furthermore, salt- and detergent soluble AChE activity significantly decreased in both PrB-treated groups. Thus, the significant cognitive enhancement observed in adult mice after short-term i.p. supplementation with the blueberry extract concentrated in polyphenols, is closely related to higher brain antioxidant properties and inhibition of AChE activity. These findings stress the critical impact of wild blueberry bioactive components on brain function.