Protective effects of blueberry- and strawberry diets on neuronal stress following exposure to (56)Fe particles

Brain Res. 2014 Dec 17;1593:9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.10.028. Epub 2014 Oct 22.


Particles of high energy and charge (HZE particles), which are abundant outside the magnetic field of the Earth, have been shown to disrupt the functioning of neuronal communication in critical regions of the brain. Previous studies with HZE particles, have shown that irradiation produces enhanced indices of oxidative stress and inflammation as well as altered neuronal function that are similar to those seen in aging. Feeding animals antioxidant-rich berry diets, specifically blueberries and strawberries, countered the deleterious effects of irradiation by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby improving neuronal signaling. In the current study, we examined the effects of exposure to (56)Fe particles in critical regions of brain involved in cognitive function, both 36h and 30 days post irradiation. We also studied the effects of antioxidant-rich berry diets, specifically a 2% blueberry or strawberry diet, fed for 8 weeks prior to radiation as well as 30 days post irradiation. (56)Fe exposure caused significant differential, neurochemical changes in critical regions of the brain, such as hippocampus, striatum, frontal cortex, and cerebellum, through increased inflammation, and increased oxidative stress protein markers. (56)Fe exposure altered the autophagy markers, and antioxidant-rich berry diets significantly reduced the accumulation of p62 in hippocampus, a scaffold protein that co-localizes with ubiquitinated protein at the 30 days post irradiation time-point. Exposure to (56)Fe particles increased the accumulation of disease-related proteins such as PHF-tau in the hippocampus of animals fed the control diet, but not in the irradiated animals fed the blueberry diet. These results indicate the potential protective effects of antioxidant-rich berry diets on neuronal functioning following exposure to HZE particles.

Keywords: Autophagy; Inflammation; Irradiation; Neurochemical; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Autophagy / physiology
  • Autophagy / radiation effects
  • Beclin-1
  • Blueberry Plants*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain / radiation effects*
  • Cosmic Radiation / adverse effects*
  • Diet*
  • Fragaria*
  • Iron / adverse effects*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Neuroimmunomodulation / physiology
  • Neuroimmunomodulation / radiation effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / radiation effects*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Beclin-1
  • Becn1 protein, rat
  • Mapt protein, rat
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • P62 peptide
  • Peptides
  • tau Proteins
  • Iron
  • Cybb protein, rat
  • NADPH Oxidase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • mTOR protein, rat