Phenolic acid intake, delivered via moderate champagne wine consumption, improves spatial working memory via the modulation of hippocampal and cortical protein expression/activation

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Nov 10;19(14):1676-89. doi: 10.1089/ars.2012.5142. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


Aims: While much data exist for the effects of flavonoid-rich foods on spatial memory in rodents, there are no such data for foods/beverages predominantly containing hydroxycinnamates and phenolic acids. To address this, we investigated the effects of moderate Champagne wine intake, which is rich in these components, on spatial memory and related mechanisms relative to the alcohol- and energy-matched controls.

Results: In contrast to the isocaloric and alcohol-matched controls, supplementation with Champagne wine (1.78 ml/kg BW, alcohol 12.5% vol.) for 6 weeks led to an improvement in spatial working memory in aged rodents. Targeted protein arrays indicated that these behavioral effects were paralleled by the differential expression of a number of hippocampal and cortical proteins (relative to the isocaloric control group), including those involved in signal transduction, neuroplasticity, apoptosis, and cell cycle regulation. Western immunoblotting confirmed the differential modulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, cAMP response-element-binding protein (CREB), p38, dystrophin, 2',3'-cyclic-nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and Bcl-xL in response to Champagne supplementation compared to the control drink, and the modulation of mTOR, Bcl-xL, and CREB in response to alcohol supplementation.

Innovation: Our data suggest that smaller phenolics such as gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, tyrosol, caftaric acid, and caffeic acid, in addition to flavonoids, are capable of exerting improvements in spatial memory via the modulation in hippocampal signaling and protein expression.

Conclusion: Changes in spatial working memory induced by the Champagne supplementation are linked to the effects of absorbed phenolics on cytoskeletal proteins, neurotrophin expression, and the effects of alcohol on the regulation of apoptotic events in the hippocampus and cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caffeic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Caffeic Acids / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Hydroxybenzoates / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxybenzoates / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Wine*


  • Caffeic Acids
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • protocatechuic acid
  • phenolic acid
  • caffeic acid