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Br J Nutr. 2010 Feb;103(4):479-89. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509992005. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Oligomeric proanthocyanidins improve memory and enhance phosphorylation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 in senescence-accelerated mouse prone/8.

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Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.


Senescence-accelerated mouse prone/8 (SAMP8), a murine model of accelerated senescence, shows age-related deficits in learning and memory. We investigated the effect of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (oligomers) on memory impairment using the SAMP8 model involving the oral administration of oligomers for 5 weeks. To analyse memory improvement in SAMP8, we performed Morris water maze, object location and object recognition tests. The oral administration of oligomers improved spatial and object recognition impairment in SAMP8. Expressions of phosphorylated neurofilament-H (P-NF-H, axon marker), microtubule-associated proteins (MAP) 2a and 2b (MAP2; dendrite marker) and synaptophysin were increased in the brains of SAMP8-administered oligomers. In particular, the expression of P-NF-H was significantly elevated in the hippocampal CA1. This indicates that oligomers result in an increase in the densities of axons, dendrites and synapses. To investigate the protective mechanisms of oligomers against brain dysfunction with ageing, we carried out a receptor tyrosine kinase phosphorylation antibody array, and clarified that the administration of oligomers led to an increase in the phosphorylation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2, suggesting the neuroprotective role of oligomers. The phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 was more greatly increased in the hypothalamus and choroid plexus than in other brain regions of SAMP8. Memory in oligomer-treated mice was impaired by SU1498, a VEGFR-2-specific antagonist. Elucidating the relationship between memory impairment with ageing and VEGFR-2 signalling may provide new suggestions for protection against memory deficit in the ageing brain.

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