Blueberries Improve Neuroinflammation and Cognition differentially Depending on Individual Cognitive baseline Status

Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Nopporn Thangthaeng, Marshall G Miller, Shibu M Poulose, Amanda N Carey, Derek R Fisher
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jun 18;74(7):977-983.
Funded by: Publication was not directly funded, but USHBC freeze-dried blueberry powder was provided at no cost.

Daily supplementation of blueberries (BBs) reverses age-related deficits in behavior in aged rats. However, it is unknown whether BB is more beneficial to one subset of the population dependent on baseline cognitive performance and inflammatory status. To examine the effect of individual differences on the efficacy of BB, aged rats (17 months old) were assessed for cognition in the radial arm water maze (RAWM) and divided into good, average, and poor performers based on navigation errors. Half of the rats in each cognitive group were then fed a control or a 2% BB diet for 8 weeks before retesting. Serum samples were collected, pre-diet and post-diet, to assess inflammation. Latency in the radial arm water maze was significantly reduced in the BB-fed poor performers (p < .05) and preserved in the BB-fed good performers. The control-fed good performers committed more working and reference memory errors in the post-test than pretest (p < .05), whereas the BB-fed good performers showed no change. An in vitro study using the serum showed that BB supplementation attenuated lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitrite and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and cognitive performance was associated with innate anti-inflammatory capability. Therefore, consumption of BB may reverse some age-related deficits in cognition, as well as preserve function among those with intact cognitive ability.

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