Chronic acarbose treatment alleviates age-related behavioral and biochemical changes in SAMP8 mice

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The administration of maintaining the homeostasis of insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling and/or glucose metabolism may reverse brain aging. In the present study, we investigated the effect of acarbose, an inhibitor of α-glucosidase, on age-related behavioral and biochemical changes. The SAMP8 mice were randomly divided into old control group and acarbose-treatment group. The mice in the acarbose group were administered acarbose (20 mg/kg/d, dissolved in drinking water) orally from 3 to 9 months of age when a new group of 3-month-old mice was added as young controls. The results showed that the aged controls exhibited declines in sensorimotor ability, open field anxiety, spatial and non-spatial memory abilities, decreased serum insulin levels, increased IGF-1 receptor and synaptotagmin 1 (Syt1) levels and decreased insulin receptor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and syntaxin 1 (Stx1) levels in the hippocampal layers. The age-related behavioral deficits correlated with the serological and histochemical data. Chronic acarbose treatment relieved these age-related changes, especially with respect to learning and memory abilities. This protective effect of acarbose on age-related behavioral impairments might be related to changes in the insulin system and the levels of BDNF, IGF-1R, and the pre-synaptic proteins Syt1 and Stx1. In conclusion, long-term treatment with acarbose ameliorated the behavioral deficits and biochemical changes in old SAMP8 mice and promoted successful aging. This study provides insight into the potential of acarbose for the treatment of brain aging.

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