Food and Behaviour Research

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Decrease in age-related tau hyperphosphorylation and cognitive improvement following vitamin D supplementation are associated with modulation of brain energy metabolism and redox state.

Briones TL, Darwish H. (2014) Neuroscience 262 143-55. Epub 2014 Jan 8. 

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Abstract:

In the present study we examined whether vitamin D supplementation can reduce age-related tau hyperphosphorylation and cognitive impairment by enhancing brain energy homeostasis and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity, and modulating the redox state.

Male F344 rats aged 20months (aged) and 6months (young) were randomly assigned to either vitamin D supplementation or no supplementation (control). Rats were housed in pairs and the supplementation group (n=10 young and n=10 aged) received subcutaneous injections of vitamin D (1, α25-dihydroxyvitamin D3) for 21days. Control animals (n=10 young and n=10 aged) received equal volume of normal saline and behavioral testing in the water maze started on day 14 after the initiation of vitamin D supplementation.

Tau phosphorylation, markers of brain energy metabolism (ADP/ATP ratio and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) and redox state (levels of reactive oxygen species, activity of superoxide dismutase, and glutathione levels) as well as PP2A activity were measured in hippocampal tissues.

Our results extended previous findings that: (1) tau phosphorylation significantly increased during aging; (2) markers of brain energy metabolism and redox state are significantly decreased in aging; and (3) aged rats demonstrated significant learning and memory impairment. More importantly, we found that age-related changes in brain energy metabolism, redox state, and cognitive function were attenuated by vitamin D supplementation.

No significant differences were seen in tau hyperphosphorylation, markers of energy metabolism and redox state in the young animal groups.

Our data suggest that vitamin D ameliorated the age-related tau hyperphosphorylation and cognitive decline by enhancing brain energy metabolism, redox state, and PP2A activity making it a potentially useful therapeutic option to alleviate the effects of aging.

Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.