Effect of Dietary Restriction on Learning and Memory Impairment and Histologic Alterations of Brain Stem in Senescence-Accelerated Mouse (SAM) P8 Strain

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The age-associated spontaneous spongy degeneration in the brain stem of senescence-accelerated mouse (SAM) P8 strain has been suggested to be closely associated with the ability to learn and memorize. In this study, we investigated the effects of dietary restriction (DR) initiated from weaning on learning and memory and histologic changes of the brain stem in P8 and control R1 mice. Although no effect of DR was observed in the retention of the passive-avoidance response in both the P8 and R1 mice, the acquisition of the task was significantly improved by DR in P8 mice. On the other hand, the total area and number of vacuoles in the brain stem was significantly higher in ad libitum-fed (AD)-P8 mice than in AD-R1 mice. However, no significant effect was observed on the vacuole formation in the brain stem of P8 mice by DR. These observations suggest that the improvement of the acquisition of the task by DR in P8 mice is possibly due to changes in neuronal function rather than histologic alteration in brain stem.

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