Francesca Manocchio, Francisca Isabel Bravo, Gisela Helfer, Begoña Muguerza

Cherries with Different Geographical Origins Regulate Neuroprotection in a Photoperiod-Dependent Manner in F344 Rats

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology

The photoperiod is the main environmental cue that drives seasonal adaptive responses in reproduction, behavior, and metabolism in seasonal animals. Increasing evidence suggests that (poly)phenols contained in fruits can also modulate seasonal rhythms. (Poly)phenol-rich diets are associated with an improvement in cognitive function and neuroprotection due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. However, it is unknown whether cherries affect neuroprotection in a photoperiod-dependent manner. To test this, F344 rats were exposed to L6 (6 h light/day), L12 (12 h light/day) and L18 (18 h light/day) photoperiods and fed a standard chow diet supplemented with either a control, lyophilized cherry 1 or cherry 2 with distinctive phenolic hallmarks. Physiological parameters (body weight, eating pattern index (EPI), testosterone, T4/T3) and hypothalamic key genes (Dio2, Dio3, Raldh1 and Ghrh) were strongly regulated by the photoperiod and/or fruit consumption. Importantly, we show for the first time that neurotrophs (Bdnf, Sod1 and Gpx1) in the hippocampus are also regulated by the photoperiod. Furthermore, the consumption of cherry 2, which was richer in total flavonols, but not cherry 1, which was richer in total anthocyanins and flavanols, enhanced neuroprotection in the hippocampus. Our results show that the seasonal consumption of cherry with a specific phenolic composition plays an important role in the hippocampal activation of neuroprotection in a photoperiod-dependent manner.

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