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J Exp Biol. 2016 Mar;219(Pt 6):816-23. doi: 10.1242/jeb.130765. Epub 2016 Jan 28.

A flavanoid component of chocolate quickly reverses an imposed memory deficit.

Author information

1
Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.
2
Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1 lukowiak@ucalgary.ca.

Abstract

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

PMID:
26823103
DOI:
10.1242/jeb.130765
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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