Some patients experience enduring cognitive impairment after cancer treatment, a condition termed “chemofog”. Animal models allow assessment of chemotherapy effects on learning and memory per se, independent of changes due to cancer itself or associated health consequences such as depression. The present study examined the long-term learning and memory effects of a chemotherapy cocktail used widely in the treatment of breast cancer, consisting of 5-fluorouracil (5FU) and cyclophosphamide (CYP). Eighty 5-month old male F344 rats received contextual and cued fear conditioning before treatment with saline, or a low or high dose drug cocktail (50 mg/kg CYP and 75 mg/kg 5FU, or 75 mg/kg CYP and 120 mg/kg 5FU, i.p., respectively) every 30 days for 2 months. After a 2-month, no-drug recovery, both long-term retention and new task acquisition in the water maze and 14-unit T-maze were assessed. Neither dose of the CYP/5FU cocktail impaired retrograde fear memory despite marked toxicity documented by enduring weight loss and 50% mortality at the higher dose. Acquisition in the water maze and Stone maze was also normal relative to controls in rats treated with CYP/5FU. The results contribute to a growing literature suggesting that learning and memory mediated by the hippocampus can be relatively resistant to chemotherapy. Future investigation may need to focus on assessments of processing speed, executive function and attention, and the possible interactive contribution of cancer itself and aging to the post-treatment development of cognitive impairment.
Chemofog; Chemobrain; spatial memory; fear conditioning; cognition
The effects of long-term cranberry consumption on age-related changes in endocrine pancreas are not fully understood. Here we treated male Fischer 344 rats with either 2% whole cranberry powder supplemented or normal rodent chow from 6 to 22 month old. Both groups displayed an age-related decline in basal plasma insulin concentrations, but this age-related decline was delayed by cranberry. Cranberry supplementation led to increased β-cell glucose responsiveness during the oral glucose tolerance test. Portal insulin concentration was 7.6-fold higher in rats fed cranberry, coupled with improved β-cell function. However, insulin resistance values were similar in both groups. Total β-cell mass and expression of pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 and insulin within islets were significantly enhanced in rats fed cranberry relative to controls. Furthermore, cranberry increased insulin release of an insulin-producing β-cell line, revealing its insulinotropic effect. These findings suggest that cranberry is of particular benefit to β-cell function in normal aging rats.
Cranberry; Insulin release; Pancreatic β-cell function; Pancreatic β-cell mass; Aging
A major cause of cell death caused by genotoxic stress is thought to be due to the depletion of NAD+ from the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Here we show that NAD+ levels in mitochondria remain at physiological levels following genotoxic stress and can maintain cell viability even when nuclear and cytoplasmic pools of NAD+ are depleted. Rodents fasted for 48 hr show increased levels of the NAD+ biosynthetic enzyme Nampt and a concomitant increase in mitochondrial NAD+. Increased Nampt provides protection against cell death and requires an intact mitochondrial NAD+ salvage pathway as well as the mitochondrial NAD+-dependent deacetylases SIRT3 and SIRT4. We discuss the relevance of these findings to understanding how nutrition modulates physiology and to the evolution of apoptosis.
The menopause is associated with a precipitous decline in circulating estrogens and a resulting loss of the neuroprotective actions of this steroid hormone. In view of the results of the Women’s Health Initiative and the preceding knowledge that orally administered estrogens has a variety of adverse side effects, likely through actions on peripheral estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), we initiated a program of research to synthesis and assess a group of non-feminizing estrogens that lack ability to interact with ERs but retain much of the neuroprotective action of feminizing estrogens. This program of research is aimed at the identification of compounds which do not stimulate ERs but are potentially neuroprotective in vitro and in animal models of neuronal cell death. We discovered that the most effective non-feminizing estrogens were those with large bulky groups in the 2 and/or 4 carbon of the phenolic A ring of the steroid. These compounds were 8- to 114-fold more potent than 17 β-estradiol (βE2), but lacked ER binding capacity in vitro and feminizing effects in vivo. The success of this program of research suggests that strategies to optimize non-feminizing estrogens for use in postmenopausal women can be successful.
Estrogens are the best studied class of drugs for potential use in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). These steroids have been shown to be potent neuroprotectants both in vitro and in vivo, and to exert effects that are consistent with their potential use in prevention of AD. These include the prevention of the processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) into beta-amyloid (Aβ), the reduction in tau hyperphosphorylation, and the elimination of catastrophic attempts at neuronal mitosis. Further, epidemiological data support the efficacy of early post-menopausal use of estrogens for the delay or prevention of AD. Collectively, this evidence supports the further development of estrogen-like compounds for prevention of AD. Several approaches to enhance brain specificity of estrogen action are now underway in an attempt to reduce the side effects of chronic estrogen therapy in AD.
Estrogens; estradiol; Alzheimer's disease; neurodegeneration; memory and cognition
Calorie restriction (CR) is a non-genetic manipulation that reliably results in extended lifespan of several species ranging from yeast to dogs. The lifespan extension effect of CR has been strongly associated with an increased level and activation of the Sir2 histone deacetylase and its mammalian ortholog Sirt1. This association led to the search for potential Sirt1-activating, life-extending molecules. This review briefly outlines the experimental findings on resveratrol and other dietary activators of Sirt1.
Calorie restriction; lifespan; resveratrol; sirtuins
A small molecule that safely mimics the ability of dietary restriction (DR) to delay age-related diseases in laboratory animals is greatly sought after. We and others have shown that resveratrol mimics effects of DR in lower organisms. In mice, we find that resveratrol induces gene expression patterns in multiple tissues that parallel those induced by DR and every-other-day feeding. Moreover, resveratrol-fed elderly mice show a marked reduction in signs of aging including reduced albuminuria, decreased inflammation and apoptosis in the vascular endothelium, increased aortic elasticity, greater motor coordination, reduced cataract formation, and preserved bone mineral density. However, mice fed a standard diet did not live longer when treated with resveratrol beginning at 12 months of age. Our findings indicate that resveratrol treatment has a range of beneficial effects in mice but does not increase the longevity of ad libitum-fed animals when started mid-life.
Estrogens are the best-studied class of drugs for potential use in the prevention
of Alzheimer's disease (AD). These steroids have been shown to be
potent neuroprotectants both in vitro and in
vivo, and to exert effects that are consistent with their potential use
in prevention of AD. These include the prevention of the processing of amyloid
precursor protein (APP) into beta-amyloid
(Aß), the reduction in tau
hyperphosphorylation, and the elimination of catastrophic attempts at neuronal
mitosis. Further, epidemiological data support the efficacy of early
postmenopausal use of estrogens for the delay or prevention of AD. Collectively,
this evidence supports the further development of estrogen-like compounds for
prevention of AD. Several approaches to enhance brain specificity of estrogen
action are now underway in an attempt to reduce the side effects of chronic
estrogen therapy in AD.
estrogens; estradiol; Alzheimer's disease; neurodegeneration; memory and cognition
Oxidative stress is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and has been extensively studied as a potential target for therapeutic intervention. Pyruvate, a natural metabolic intermediate and energy substrate, exerts antioxidant effects in brain and other tissues susceptible to oxidative stress. We tested the protective effects of pyruvate on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) toxicity in human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells and the mechanisms underlying its protection. Hydrogen peroxide insult resulted in 85% cell death, but co-treatment with pyruvate dose-dependently attenuated cell death. At concentrations of ≥ 1 mM, pyruvate totally blocked the cytotoxic effects of H2O2. Pyruvate exerted its protective effects even when its administration was delayed up to 2 hr after H2O2 insult. As a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), pyruvate dose-dependently attenuated H2O2-induced ROS formation, assessed from 2,7-dichlorofluorescein diacetate fluorescence. Furthermore, pyruvate suppressed superoxide production by submitochondrial particles, and attenuated oxidative stress-induced collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential. Collectively, these results suggest pyruvate protects neuronal cells through its antioxidant actions on mitochondria.
pyruvate; mitochondria; oxidative stress; neuroprotection; hydrogen peroxide; superoxide