The treatment of Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) improves the neuroplasticity of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in aged rats.
J Nutr Biochem. 2020 Sep ;83:108416. Epub 2020 May 17. PMID: 32554223
Ana Karen Ruíz-Salinas
The main characteristic of brain aging is an exacerbated inflammatory and oxidative response that affects dendritic morphology and the function of the neurons of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the hippocampus. This consequently causes memory loss. Recently, the use of the Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) as an antioxidant extract has provided neuroprotection and neuroplasticity, however, its therapeutic potential has not been demonstrated in aging conditions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of Goji administration on memory recognition, as well as the changes in the dendritic morphology of the PFC and Hippocampus pyramidal neurons in old rats. Goji (3 g/kg) was administrated for 60 days in 18-month-old rats. After the treatment, recognition memory was evaluated using the new object recognition task (NORt). The changes in the neuron morphology of the PFC and hippocampus pyramidal neurons in old rats were evaluated by Golgi-cox stain and immunoreactivity for synaptophysin, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), caspase-3, 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). The rats treated with Goji showed a significant increase in dendritic morphology in the PFC and hippocampus neurons, a greater immunoreactivity to synaptophysin and a decrease in reactive astrogliosis and also in caspase-3, in 3-NT and in Nrf2 in these brain regions was also observed. Goji administration promotes the plasticity processes in the PFC and in the hippocampus of old rats, critical structures in the brain aging process.