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. 2005 Apr;8(2):111-20.
doi: 10.1080/10284150500078117.

Anthocyanins in Aged Blueberry-Fed Rats Are Found Centrally and May Enhance Memory

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Anthocyanins in Aged Blueberry-Fed Rats Are Found Centrally and May Enhance Memory

Cristina Andres-Lacueva et al. Nutr Neurosci. .

Abstract

Research has shown that fruits and vegetables containing high levels of polyphenolics (flavonoids) display high total antioxidant activity. Our laboratory found that various fruit and vegetable extracts, particularly blueberry (BB), were effective in reversing age-related deficits in neuronal signaling and behavioral parameters following 8 weeks of feeding, possibly due to their polyphenolic content. However, it was unclear if these phytonutrients were able to directly access the brain from dietary BB supplementation (BBS). The present study examined whether different classes of polyphenols could be found in brain areas associated with cognitive performance following BBS. Thus, 19 month old F344 rats were fed a control or 2% BB diet for 8-10 weeks and tested in the Morris water maze (MWM), a measure of spatial learning and memory. LC-MS analyses of anthocyanins in the diet and subsequently in different brain regions of BBS and control rats were carried out. Several anthocyanins (cyanidin-3-O-beta-galactoside, cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucoside, cyanidin-3-O-beta-arabinose, malvidin-3-O-beta-galactoside, malvidin-3-O-beta-glucoside, malvidin-3-O-beta-arabinose, peonidin-3-O-beta-arabinose and delphinidin-3-O-beta-galactoside) were found in the cerebellum, cortex, hippocampus or striatum of the BBS rats, but not the controls. These findings are the first to suggest that polyphenolic compounds are able to cross the blood brain barrier and localize in various brain regions important for learning and memory. Correlational analyses revealed a relationship between MWM performance in BBS rats and the total number of anthocyanin compounds found in the cortex. These findings suggest that these compounds may deliver their antioxidant and signaling modifying capabilities centrally.

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