Objectives: The present study was carried out to determine if lyophilized açaí fruit pulp (genus, Euterpe), rich in polyphenols and other bioactive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, is efficacious in reversing age-related cognitive deficits in aged rats.
Methods: The diets of 19-month-old Fischer 344 rats were supplemented for 8 weeks with 2% Euterpe oleracea (EO), Euterpe precatoria (EP), or a control diet. Rats were tested in the Morris water maze and then blood serum from the rats was used to assess inflammatory responses of BV-2 microglial cells.
Results: After 8 weeks of dietary supplementation with 2% EO or EP, rats demonstrated improved working memory in the Morris water maze, relative to controls; however, only the EO diet improved reference memory. BV-2 microglial cells treated with blood serum collected from EO-fed rats produced less nitric oxide (NO) than control-fed rats. Serum from both EO- and EP-fed rats reduced tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). There is a relationship between performance in the water maze and the production of NO and TNF-α by serum-treated BV-2 cells, such that serum from rats with better performance was more protective against inflammatory signaling.
Discussion: Protection of memory during aging by supplementation of lyophilized açaí fruit pulp added to the diet may result from its ability to influence antioxidant and anti-inflammatory signaling.
Keywords: Aging; Açaí; Cognition; Inflammation; Memory; Oxidative stress.