J Nutr Health Aging. 2015 Oct;19(8):819-27. doi: 10.1007/s12603-015-0546-4.

Mente Activa® Improves Impaired Spatial Memory in Aging Rats.
 

M.D. LÓPEZ-AVALOS1,4, R. FERNÁNDEZ-LLEBREZ ZAYAS1, M. CIFUENTES1,4, M.V. DE ANDRÉS2, P. FERNÁNDEZ-LLEBREZ DEL REY1,4, J.M. GRONDONA1,4, M. PÉREZ-MARTÍN1,4, C. PEDRAZA3,4*

  1. Universidad de Málaga, Departamento de Biología Celular, Genética y Fisiología, Facultad de Ciencias, Málaga, 29071 Spain; 2. Universidad de Málaga, Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Málaga, 29071 Spain; 3. Universidad de Málaga, Departamento de Psicobiología y Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, Málaga, 29071 Spain; 4. Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Málaga (IBIMA).  

*Corresponding author: C. Pedraza, Dpto. Psicobiología y Metodología de las CC. Facultad de Psicología. Universidad de Málaga, Campus de Teatinos s/n., Málaga, 29071. Spain, Tel: +34 952 132 510; Fax: +34 952 134 142, E-mail: mdpedraza@uma.es

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Aging is accompanied by a decline in several aspects of the cognitive function, having negative personal and socioeconomic impacts. Dietary supplements could be beneficial for preventing age-related cognitive decline. In this context, we examined whether the nutritional supplement Mente Activa® has beneficial effects on aging-related cognitive deficits without inducing side effects.

METHODS:

Mente Activa® was administered to old rats (n= 30 treated rats and n= 30 control rats) during 5 months, and the Morris water maze was used to test the learning capacities of the animals. The first assessment was conducted before the nutritional intervention (age of 18-19 months), to determine the baseline of the performance of animals on this test, and the second assessment was performed at the end of the treatment (23-24 moths). In order to examine possible secondary effects of this nutritional supplement, plasma, heart anatomy and liver parameters were evaluated.

RESULTS:

Our data indicate that supplemented rats showed less escape latency, distance swum, higher use of spatial search strategies, and crossed the former platform location with higher frequency than control rats. These effects were specific of the treatment, indicating that this nutritional supplement has a beneficial effect on spatial memory. On the other hand, the regular intake of Mente Activa® did not induce any negative effects in plasma parameters and heart size.

CONCLUSIONS:

Aged rats under a sustained dietary intake of the nutritional supplement Mente Activa® displayed improved learning and memory abilities compared to the non-treated rats. These results suggest the therapeutic potential and safety of use of Mente Activa® for age-related cognitive deficits, particularly, in the onset of the first cognitive dysfunction symptoms.

PMID: 26412286

 

Supplement: 

Life expectancy is markedly increasing, particularly in developed countries, hence the average population is aging considerably. Although this constitutes an undeniable achievement, it represents at the same time a major challenge for our society.

The risk of developing cognitive decline increases with age. Physiological changes that take place in the brain during senescence are responsible for such normal cognitive decline, but these changes are not expected to significantly affect the personal autonomy. However, there are certain pathological conditions, such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), in which the cognitive detriment exceeds the expected changes related to age. Moreover, this disorder has been associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). The prevalence of dementia is projected to be doubled in 20 years1 and it is expected to increase exponentially over the coming decades. Suffering from MCI, and above all from Alzheimer’s disease, would lead to a progressive loss of personal independence, thus increasing the caregiving burdens and eventually affecting the quality of life.

In this context, to identify strategies that could counteract the consequences of aging on the brain is essential to search for new potential therapeutic interventions to prevent cognitive decline.

Among the different memory systems affected by age, we aimed to investigate the spatial memory, which is strongly dependent on hippocampal function. The hippocampus is particularly vulnerable to the aging process. The acquisition and retention of spatial information has been shown to be impaired with age both in humans and animals.

Numerous studies demonstrate that some nutrients may have a positive influence on cognitive function. They include vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid, taurine, and soy lecithin. All these compounds are included in the formula of the nutritional supplement Mente Activa®, which we used to treat aged rats for the extended period of five months. The spatial memory was evaluated measuring different parameters in the Morris water maze. The initial cognitive status of the rats was tested prior to the supplementation period, to account for the baseline of performance of each animal. Morris water maze parameters such as escape latency, distance to platform or proximity to the target, improved after the treatment with Mente Activa®, indicating its positive effect on spatial memory. Additional measures revealed that the treated animals used spatially precise search strategies more frequently than the non-treated rats, indicating an improvement in spatial accuracy.

On the other hand, we further analysed the data considering the individual cognitive performance prior to the treatment. Thus, the rats were classified as cognitive unimpaired or cognitive impaired with age. This new analysis of the data revealed that the cognitive impaired rats were particularly benefited by the treatment, while the performance of unimpaired rats did not improve with the treatment.

Our work demonstrates that it is possible to use the nutritional supplement Mente Activa® to improve the spatial memory in aged rats suffering cognitive decline. Also, we showed that it is a safe product even when used during extended periods, as no differences were observed between treated and control rats regarding plasma glucose, lipid levels, transaminases, creatinine, uric acid, urea, and cardiovascular function parameters.

Although our study has been carried out in experimental animals, our findings suggest that Mente Activa® could be a promising therapy for elderly people with early symptoms of cognitive decline, which could delay or even prevent age-associated memory decline. The importance of preventing the mild cognitive decline lies in that it can be considered the preface of dementia. The safety of this nutritional supplement when used for long periods in experimental animals is of particular interest, given the various health problems that aged people frequently present.

1Alzheimer’s Disease International. World Alzheimer Report. London, England: Alzheimer’s Disease International; 2010

 

 

fig1

Figure 1: Experimental procedure of the spatial memory test.

Multiselect Ultimate Query Plugin by InoPlugs Web Design Vienna | Webdesign Wien and Juwelier SchönmannMultiselect Ultimate Query Plugin by InoPlugs Web Design Vienna | Webdesign Wien and Juwelier Schönmann