, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 441-454
Date: 02 Sep 2008

Age-related impairments in neuronal plasticity markers and astrocytic GFAP and their reversal by late-onset short term dietary restriction

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Recent studies on the effects of dietary restriction (DR) in rodents and primates have shown that even late-onset short-term regimens can bring about comparable beneficial changes seen in animals subjected to life-long DR. We studied the effect of aging on the expression of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), its polysialylated form PSA-NCAM and astrocytic marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) by immunohistofluorescent staining and immunoblotting in 1, 3, 6, 18 and 24 months old male wistar rats. Maximum expression of NCAM and PSA-NCAM was observed in sub-granular zone (SGZ) or granular cell layer (GCL) of hippocampus, arcuate region and paraventricular area of hypothalamus and piriform cortex layer II from 1 and 3 months old rats, thereafter, gradual downregulation was observed in 6, 18 and 24 months old rats. Progressive increase in astrocytic GFAP expression was noticed in these regions of brain with age. We further addressed whether DR initiated in late adulthood in 24 months old rats confers beneficial effects and can reverse changes in expression of NCAM, PSA-NCAM and GFAP. These results suggest that even late-onset short term DR regimen in old rats can have beneficial effects on neuroplasticity.