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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2011 May;118(5):653-62. doi: 10.1007/s00702-011-0617-6. Epub 2011 Mar 20.

A proteomics study reveals a predominant change in MaoB expression in platelets of healthy volunteers after high protein meat diet: relationship to the methylation cycle.

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Surgical Research Laboratories, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Studies investigating the impact of high meat intake on cognition have yielded contradictory results as some show improved cognitive performance, whereas others report an increase of risk factors for dementia. However, few studies were designed to directly assess the effect of a high protein (HP) diet on both cognitive performance and corresponding biochemical parameters. A randomised intervention study was conducted with 23 healthy males (aged 19-31 years) to investigate the effects of a usual (UP) versus a HP diet on cognitive function and on the platelet proteome a well-established model for neurons. The study individuals were assigned to either a UP diet (15% energy) or a HP diet (30% energy) for 3 weeks with controlled intake of food and beverages. Blood samples were taken along with measurements of cognitive functions at the beginning and at the end of the intervention period. Among 908 reproducibly studied platelet proteins only the level of monoamine oxidase B (MaoB), a neurotransmitter degrading enzyme, decreased by 26% significantly (adjusted P value < 0.05) due to the HP diet. In addition, we found a correlation (r = 0.477; P < 0.02) between the decrease of MaoB expression and the shortened reaction time (cognitive function) which is in accordance with reports that dementia patients show increased MaoB activity. Plasma vitamin B(12) concentration was increased by the HP diet and correlates inversely with platelet MaoB expression (r = -0.35; P < 0.02). Healthy young males on a HP diet showed improved cognitive function and counteract well-known dementia biomarkers such as platelet MaoB and components of the methylation cycle such as vitamin B(12) and homocysteine.

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