Beneficial effects of folic acid on enhancement of memory and antioxidant status in aged rat brain.
Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2011 Jan;31(1):83-91. Epub 2010 Dec 18. PMID: 21170581
Department of Biophysics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.
As our population ages, diseases affecting memory and daily functioning will affect an increasing number of individuals, their families and the healthcare system. Therefore, there is a need to study and evaluate effects of certain conditions for anti-aging of the brain. Nutrient supplementation can modify the brain function. The chemistry and function of both the developing and the mature brain are influenced by diet (Fernstrom, Am J Clinical Nutrition 71:1669S-1673S, 2000). Clinical, biochemical, and pathological aspects have shown a correlation between mental symptoms, especially depression and cognitive decline, with high incidence of folate deficiency (Bottiglieri et al., J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 69:562, 2000). In the present study, consequences of folic acid supplementation on brain dysfunction as a result of aging were studied in cerebral cortex, mid brain, and cerebellar regions of rat brain. This study was carried out on 6-, 11-, and 16-month-old rats, which received folic acid at a dose of 5 mg/kg body weight/day for a period of 8 weeks. Respective control groups of the same age groups were also taken. At the end of the treatment duration, behavioral studies were performed and later the animals were killed for various biochemical and histological investigations. Results indicated significant improvement in memory as assessed by active avoidance, passive avoidance, and plus maze tests in the folic acid supplemented aged animals. Significant improvement was also seen in the cellular protective mechanisms where by the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase enzymes increased in folic acid supplemented group and so was the glutathione content. Increased lipid peroxidation content, a marker of aging, was also found to be decreased during folic acid supplementation in all the three regions of brain in our study. Thus, it can be concluded that folic acid helps in improving the memory status by reducing oxidative stress and maintaining the integrity of neurons during aging.