The ability to remember is influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors, such as stress and diet. A flavanol contained in chocolate, epicatechin (Epi), has been shown to enhance long-term memory (LTM) formation in Lymnaea. Combining two stressors (low-calcium pond water and crowding) blocks learning and all forms of memory; that is, this combination of environmentally relevant stressors creates a memory-unfriendly state. We tested the hypothesis that Epi will immediately reverse the memory-unfriendly state, i.e. that snails in the memory-deficit state when trained in Epi will immediately become competent to learn and form memory. We found that Epi not only reverses the memory-deficit state but also further enhances LTM formation. Thus, a naturally occurring bioactive plant compound can overcome a memory-unfriendly state. This supports the idea that bioactive substances may mitigate memory-making deficits that, for example, occur with ageing.
Keywords: Epicatechin; Long-term memory; Lymnaea; Stress.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.