Cognitive and behavioral evaluation of nutritional interventions in rodent models of brain aging and dementia

Clin Interv Aging. 2017 Sep 8;12:1419-1428. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S145247. eCollection 2017.


Evaluation of behavior and cognition in rodent models underpins mechanistic and interventional studies of brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases, especially dementia. Commonly used tests include Morris water maze, Barnes maze, object recognition, fear conditioning, radial arm water maze, and Y maze. Each of these tests reflects some aspects of human memory including episodic memory, recognition memory, semantic memory, spatial memory, and emotional memory. Although most interventional studies in rodent models of dementia have focused on pharmacological agents, there are an increasing number of studies that have evaluated nutritional interventions including caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, and manipulation of macronutrients. Dietary interventions have been shown to influence various cognitive and behavioral tests in rodents indicating that nutrition can influence brain aging and possibly neurodegeneration.

Keywords: aging; calorie restriction; intermittent fasting; macronutrients; memory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cognition
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / prevention & control
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control
  • Rodentia