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Behav Brain Res. 2009 Mar 17;198(2):352-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.11.013. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Effect of a polyphenol-rich wild blueberry extract on cognitive performance of mice, brain antioxidant markers and acetylcholinesterase activity.

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Laboratory of Human & Animal Physiology, Department of Biology, University of Patras, Greece.


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a polyphenol-rich extract (PrB) of Vaccinium angustifolium (wild blueberries) introduced intraperitoneally (i.p.) at 30 (PrB30) and 60 (PrB60) mg/kg body weight for 7 days, on cognitive performance, brain oxidative status and acetylcholinesterase activity in adult, male, 3-4-month-old Balb-c mice. Evaluation of rodent learning and memory was assessed by a step-through test on day 6 after a double training and an initial acquisition trial on day 5. Antioxidant status was determined by ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), ascorbic acid concentration (FRASC), malondialdehyde and reduced glutathione levels in whole brain homogenates. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was determined by Ellman's colorimetric method. Results showed that the PrB60-treated mice exhibited a significant improvement in learning and memory (step-through latency time of 228+/-38 s compared to 101+/-32 s of the control group). PrB extract administration also resulted in reduced lipid peroxidation products (38 and 79%) and higher brain ascorbic acid levels (21 and 64%) in both PrB30 and PrB60-treated groups, respectively, and higher glutathione levels (28%) in the PrB60-treated group. Furthermore, salt- and detergent soluble AChE activity significantly decreased in both PrB-treated groups. Thus, the significant cognitive enhancement observed in adult mice after short-term i.p. supplementation with the blueberry extract concentrated in polyphenols, is closely related to higher brain antioxidant properties and inhibition of AChE activity. These findings stress the critical impact of wild blueberry bioactive components on brain function.

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