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      Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function

      Nature Reviews Neuroscience

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          It has long been suspected that the relative abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions. Newly described influences of dietary factors on neuronal function and synaptic plasticity have revealed some of the vital mechanisms that are responsible for the action of diet on brain health and mental function. Several gut hormones that can enter the brain, or that are produced in the brain itself, influence cognitive ability. In addition, well-established regulators of synaptic plasticity, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, can function as metabolic modulators, responding to peripheral signals such as food intake. Understanding the molecular basis of the effects of food on cognition will help us to determine how best to manipulate diet in order to increase the resistance of neurons to insults and promote mental fitness.

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          Most cited references 126

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          Sustained hippocampal chromatin regulation in a mouse model of depression and antidepressant action.

          To better understand the molecular mechanisms of depression and antidepressant action, we administered chronic social defeat stress followed by chronic imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant) to mice and studied adaptations at the levels of gene expression and chromatin remodeling of five brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) splice variant mRNAs (I-V) and their unique promoters in the hippocampus. Defeat stress induced lasting downregulation of Bdnf transcripts III and IV and robustly increased repressive histone methylation at their corresponding promoters. Chronic imipramine reversed this downregulation and increased histone acetylation at these promoters. This hyperacetylation by chronic imipramine was associated with a selective downregulation of histone deacetylase (Hdac) 5. Furthermore, viral-mediated HDAC5 overexpression in the hippocampus blocked imipramine's ability to reverse depression-like behavior. These experiments underscore an important role for histone remodeling in the pathophysiology and treatment of depression and highlight the therapeutic potential for histone methylation and deacetylation inhibitors in depression.
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            The BDNF val66met Polymorphism Affects Activity-Dependent Secretion of BDNF and Human Memory and Hippocampal Function

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              Regulation of BDNF and trkB mRNA in rat brain by chronic electroconvulsive seizure and antidepressant drug treatments.

              The influence of chronic electroconvulsive seizure (ECS) or antidepressant drug treatments on expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, trkB, was examined by in situ hybridization and Northern blot. In frontal cortex, acute ECS increased BDNF mRNA approximately twofold, an effect significantly augmented by a prior course of chronic ECS treatment (10 d). In the hippocampus, the influence of chronic ECS varied between the major subfields. In the dentate gyrus granule cell layer, chronic ECS decreased the acute induction of BDNF and trkB mRNA by approximately 50%, but prolonged their expression: levels remained elevated two- to threefold 18 hr later after the last chronic ECS treatment, but returned to control 18 hr after acute ECS. In CA3 and CA1 pyramidal cell layers, chronic ECS significantly elevated the acute induction of BDNF, and tended to prolong the expression of BDNF and trkB mRNA. A similar effect was observed in layer 2 of the piriform cortex, where chronic ECS significantly increased the acute induction and prolonged the expression of BDNF and trkB mRNA. Chronic (21 d), but not acute (1 d), administration of several different antidepressant drugs, including tranylcypromine, sertraline, desipramine, or mianserin, significantly increased BDNF mRNA and all but mianserin increased trkB mRNA in hippocampus. In contrast, chronic administration of nonantidepressant psychotropic drugs, including morphine, cocaine, or haloperidol, did not increase levels of BDNF mRNA. Furthermore, chronic administration of ECS or antidepressant drugs completely blocked the down-regulation of BDNF mRNA in the hippocampus in response to restraint stress. The enhanced induction and prolonged expression of BDNF in response to chronic ECS and antidepressant drug treatments could promote neuronal survival, and protect neurons from the damaging effects of stress.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Neuroscience
                Nat Rev Neurosci
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-003X
                1471-0048
                July 2008
                July 2008
                : 9
                : 7
                : 568-578
                Article
                10.1038/nrn2421
                2805706
                18568016
                © 2008

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