Effect of mitochondrial cofactors and antioxidants supplementation on cognition in the aged canine

Neurobiol Aging. 2016 Jan;37:171-178. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2015.09.015. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


A growing body of research has focused on modifiable risk factors for prevention and attenuation of cognitive decline in aging. This has led to an unprecedented interest in the relationship between diet and cognitive function. Several preclinical and epidemiologic studies suggest that dietary intervention can be used to improve cognitive function but randomized controlled trials are increasingly failing to replicate these findings. Here, we use a canine model of aging to evaluate the effects of specific components of diet supplementation which contain both antioxidants and a combination of mitochondrial cofactors (lipoic acid [LA] and acetyl-l-carnitine) on a battery of cognitive functions. Our data suggest that supplementation with mitochondrial cofactors, but not LA or antioxidant alone, selectively improve long-term recall in aged canines. Furthermore, we found evidence that LA alone could have cognitive impairing effects. These results contrast to those of a previous longitudinal study in aged canine. Our data demonstrate that one reason for this difference may be the nutritional status of animals at baseline for the 2 studies. Overall, this study suggests that social, cognitive, and physical activity together with optimal dietary intake (rather than diet alone) promotes successful brain aging.

Keywords: Aging; Carnitine (ALCAR); Cognition; Dietary supplement; Lipoic acid (LA); Mitochondrial cofactor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcarnitine / administration & dosage*
  • Acetylcarnitine / pharmacology
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Coenzymes / administration & dosage*
  • Coenzymes / pharmacology
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diet therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Male
  • Memory, Long-Term / drug effects
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Coenzymes
  • Acetylcarnitine
  • Thioctic Acid