Antioxidant-rich diets improve cerebellar physiology and motor learning in aged rats

Paula C. Bickford, Thomas Gould, Lori Briederick, Kathy Chadman, Amber Pollock, David Young, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, James Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Scopus citations


The free radical theory of aging predicts that reactive oxygen species are involved in the decline in function associated with aging. The present paper reports that diets supplemented with either spinach, strawberries or blueberries, nutritional sources of antioxidants, reverse age-induced declines in β-adrenergic receptor function in cerebellar Purkinje neurons measured using electrophysiological techniques. In addition the spinach diet improved learning on a runway motor task, previously shown to be modulated by cerebellar norepinephrine. Motor learning is important for adaptation to changes in the environment and is thus critical for rehabilitation following stroke, spinal cord injury, and the onset of some neurodegenerative diseases. These data are the first to indicate that age-related deficits in motor learning and memory can be reversed with nutritional interventions. Copyright (C) 2000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 2 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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