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Araujo, Joseph A. (1)
Christie, Lori-Ann (1)
Cotman, Carl W. (1)
Milgram, Norton W. (1)
Opii, Wycliffe O. (1)
Studzinski, Christa M. (1)
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Neurobiology of the aging dog
Aged canines naturally accumulate several types of neuropathology that may have links to cognitive decline. On a gross level, significant cortical atrophy occurs with age along with an increase in ventricular volume based on magnetic resonance imaging studies. Microscopically, there is evidence of select neuron loss and reduced neurogenesis in the hippocampus of aged dogs, an area critical for intact learning and memory. The cause of neuronal loss and dysfunction may be related to the progressive accumulation of toxic proteins, oxidative damage, cerebrovascular pathology, and changes in gene expression. For example, aged dogs naturally accumulate human-type beta-amyloid peptide, a protein critically involved with the development of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Further, oxidative damage to proteins, DNA/RNA and lipids occurs with age in dogs. Although less well explored in the aged canine brain, neuron loss, and cerebrovascular pathology observed with age are similar to human brain aging and may also be linked to cognitive decline. Interestingly, the prefrontal cortex appears to be particularly vulnerable early in the aging process in dogs and this may be reflected in dysfunction in specific cognitive domains with age.
Atrophy; Beagle; Beta-amyloid; Neurogenesis; Oxidative damage
Strategies for improving cognition with aging: insights from a longitudinal study of antioxidant and behavioral enrichment in canines
Opii, Wycliffe O.
Studies in humans suggest that lifestyle factors can have a beneficial impact on the risk for developing cognitive decline and dementia with age. There is growing evidence that maintaining a physically and intellectually active lifestyle can positively impact cognitive ability in older individuals. Dietary factors, such as the intake of antioxidants, may also prevent age-related cognitive decline. However, studies in humans are challenging; many variables cannot be controlled, making it difficult for researchers to determine the exact types and quantities of enrichment and dietary factors necessary for positive effects on cognition. Studies in animal models of human aging allow researchers to precisely control such variables, and can be used to assess the mechanisms and molecular pathways underlying any positive effects. Here we review the results of an intervention study using a canine model of human aging. The study was unique in that it compared the effects of dietary antioxidant supplementation alone and in combination with behavioral enrichment. We found that both interventions lead to improvements in cognitive ability in aged dogs; however, combining the treatments preserved cognition to a greater extent than either treatment alone. Overall, the results suggest that antioxidant supplementation and behavioral enrichment target separate yet complementary molecular pathways to improve cognition, and support the idea that combinations of treatments to improve cognition and slow brain aging will produce greater benefits than single interventions.
Beta-amyloid; Dog; Mitochondrial cofactors; Neurogenesis; Oxidative stress; Proteomics
Assessment of nutritional interventions for modification of age-associated cognitive decline using a canine model of human aging
Araujo, Joseph A.
Studzinski, Christa M.
Cotman, Carl W.
Milgram, Norton W.
The present review focuses on the utility of a canine model in evaluating nutritional interventions for age-related cognitive dysfunction. Aged dogs demonstrate progressive cognitive decline with concurrent amyloid-beta pathology that parallels the pathology observed in aging humans. Dogs, therefore, provide a natural model of human pathological aging. We have and are in the process of evaluating several nutritional-based interventions aimed at preventing cognitive decline and brain aging. In a three-year longitudinal study, we examined the effects of a diet enriched with antioxidants and mitochondrial cofactors on several measures of cognition and brain aging. Compared to controls, aged dogs on the enriched diet demonstrated both short- and long-term cognitive benefits, as well decreased deposition of amyloid-beta protein. The diet also reduced behavioral signs associated with canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome when assessed in veterinary clinical trials. We also have preliminary evidence suggesting a beneficial effect of a proprietary blend of docosahexaenoic acid and phospholipids on both cognitive and physiological measures. Collectively, our data indicate (1) that the dog, either in the laboratory or in the clinic, provides an important tool for assessing nutritional interventions and (2) that combination interventions aimed at several mechanisms of pathological aging may prove more effective than single nutritive components in human trials.
aging; Alzheimer’s disease; antioxidants; brain pathology; canine model; cognitive dysfunction; docosahexaenoic acid; mitochondrial cofactors; nutritional interventions; phospholipids
Results 1-3 (3)
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