Late-onset intermittent fasting dietary restriction as a potential intervention to retard age-associated brain function impairments in male rats

Age (Dordr). 2012 Aug;34(4):917-33. doi: 10.1007/s11357-011-9289-2. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


Lifelong dietary restriction (DR) is known to have many potential beneficial effects on brain function as well as delaying the onset of neurological diseases. In the present investigation, the effect of late-onset short-term intermittent fasting dietary restriction (IF-DR) regimen was studied on motor coordination and cognitive ability of ageing male rats. These animals were further used to estimate protein carbonyl content and mitochondrial complex I-IV activity in different regions of brain and peripheral organs, and the degree of age-related impairment and reversion by late-onset short-term IF-DR was compared with their levels in 3-month-old young rats. The results of improvement in motor coordination by rotarod test and cognitive skills by Morris water maze in IF-DR rats were found to be positively correlated with the decline in the oxidative molecular damage to proteins and enhanced mitochondrial complex IV activity in different regions of ageing brain as well as peripheral organs. The work was further extended to study the expression of synaptic plasticity-related proteins, such as synaptophysin, calcineurin and CaM kinase II to explore the molecular basis of IF-DR regimen to improve cognitive function. These results suggest that even late-onset short-term IF-DR regimen have the potential to retard age-associated detrimental effects, such as cognitive and motor performance as well as oxidative molecular damage to proteins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fasting*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Motor Skills
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Protein Carbonylation
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors