A milk-based wolfberry preparation prevents prenatal stress-induced cognitive impairment of offspring rats, and inhibits oxidative damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in vitro.
Neurochem Res. 2010 Feb 5. Epub 2010 Feb 5. PMID: 20131093
Lycium barbarum (Fructus Lycii, Wolfberry, or Gouqi) belongs to the Solanaceae. The red-colored fruits of L. barbarum have been used for a long time as an ingredient in Chinese cuisine and brewing, and also in traditional Chinese herbal medicine for improving health. However, its effects on cognitive function have not been well studied. In the present study, prevention of a milk-based wolfberry preparation (WP) on cognitive dysfunction was tested in a prenatal stress model with rats and the antioxidant mechanism was tested by in vitro experiments. We found that prenatal stress caused a significant decrease in cognitive function (Morris water maze test) in female offspring. Pretreatment of the mother rats with WP significantly prevented the prenatal stress-induced cognitive dysfunction. In vitro studies showed that WP dose-dependently scavenged hydroxyl and superoxide radicals (determined by an electron spin resonance spectrometric assay), and inhibited FeCl(2)/ascorbic acid-induced dysfunction in brain tissue and tissue mitochondria, including increases in reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation and decreases in the activities of complex I, complex II, and glutamate cysteine ligase. These results suggest that dietary supplementation with WP may be an effective strategy for preventing the brain oxidative mitochondrial damage and cognitive dysfunction associated with prenatal stress.