Tchantchou F, Chan A, Kifle L, Ortiz D, Shea TB. (2005) J Alzheimers Dis. 8(3) 283-7
Oxidative stress contributes to age-related cognitive decline. In some instances, consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant can provide superior protection than supplementation with purified antioxidants. Our prior studies have shown that supplementation with apple juice concentrate (AJC) alleviates oxidative damage and cognitive decline in a transgenic murine model compromised in endogenous antioxidant potential when challenged with a vitamin-deficient, oxidative stress-promoting diet. Herein, we demonstrate that AJC, administered in drinking water, is neuroprotective in normal, aged mice. Normal mice aged either 9-10 months or 2-2.5 years were maintained for 1 month on a complete diet or a diet lacking folate and vitamin E and containing iron as a pro-oxidant, after which oxidative damage was assayed by thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances and cognitive decline as assayed by performance in a standard Y-maze. Mice 9-12 months of age were unaffected by the deficient diet, while older mice demonstrated statistically-increased oxidative damage and poorer performance in a Y maze test. Supplementation with AJC prevented these neurodegenerative effects. These data are consistent with normal aged individuals being susceptible to neurodegeneration following dietary compromise such as folate deficiency, and a hastened onset of neurodegeneration in those individuals harboring a genetic risk factor such as ApoE deficiency. These findings also support the efficacy of antioxidant supplementation, including consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as apples, in preventing the decline in cognitive performance that accompanies normal aging.