Chronic administration of UMP ameliorates the impairment of hippocampal-dependent memory in impoverished rats

J Nutr. 2006 Nov;136(11):2834-7. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.11.2834.


We have previously shown that chronic, but not acute, dietary supplementation with CDP-choline prevents the hippocampal-dependent memory deficits manifested by aged rats and by rats reared under impoverished environmental conditions. In rats, dietary CDP-choline is rapidly metabolized into cytidine and choline; the cytidine is then readily converted to uridine, which enters the brain and, via conversion to UTP and CTP, increases brain levels of membrane phosphatides. Hence, we have assessed whether administering a uridine source (UMP) instead of CDP-choline can also ameliorate the memory deficits in rats reared under impoverished environmental conditions. At weaning, 32 male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to either enriched (EC) or impoverished (IC) conditions for 3 mo. Concurrently, IC and EC rats were given access to either a control diet or a diet supplemented with 0.1% UMP. Rats were then assessed for learning and memory skills using 2 versions of the Morris water maze, the hidden platform version that assesses hippocampal-dependent cognitive memory processing, and the visible platform version that assesses striatal-dependent habit memory. As expected, exposure to the impoverished environment impaired hippocampal-dependent, but not striatal-dependent learning and memory. Supplementation with UMP prevented this cognitive dysfunction, as had been observed with supplemental CDP-choline. These results suggest that IC rats do not use and/or remember their spatial strategies for task solving as well as EC rats, and that long-term dietary supplementation with UMP alleviates this dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Environment
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Memory Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uridine Monophosphate / administration & dosage*


  • Uridine Monophosphate