Natural substance NT-020 aids aging brains in rats, study finds

Jul 20, 2010

A combination of nutrients called NT-020 promoted adult neural stem cell proliferation in aged rats and boosted their memory performance, reported University of South Florida researchers studying natural therapeutic approaches to promoting the health of neurons in the aging brain.

Researchers from the USF Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair tested two groups of aged laboratory rats; one group received NT-020 and another, the control group, did not. In the NT-020 group, the process by which neurons are generated -- called neurogenesis -- increased.

The NT-020 formula was patented by USF and licensed to Natura Therapeutics, Inc. The study was published in the current issue of Rejuvenation Research (Vol. 13 No. 5, June, 2010).

"Aging has been linked to oxidative stress, and we have previously shown that natural compounds made from blueberries, green tea, and , such as carnosine, are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activity," said Sandra Acosta, MS, the study's lead author and a PhD student in the USF Center of Excellence in Aging and Brain Repair . "The combination of these nutrients, called NT-020, creates a synergistic effect that promotes the proliferation of stem cells in the aged animals."

Acosta and colleagues compared the NT-020 group to the control group by evaluating their performance on a variety of behavioral and memory tests, including a spatial navigation test. The NT-020 group demonstrated increased adult neural stem cell proliferation in the two main stem cell niches in the brains and improvement in learning and memory.

In past studies, NT-020 has been shown to have beneficial effects on animals with simulated stroke. NT-020 has also been shown to encourage the proliferation of , which have the potential to develop into tissue and and also migrate to areas of damage to help with repair.

That increased stem coincided with better is significant.

"The notion that aging is a stem cell disease has been gaining popularity," said study senior author Paula Bickford, PhD, professor of neurosurgery and brain repair at USF. "Our hypothesis is that aging alters the local environment in the brain and other organs and can promote an environment that retards the growth of stem cells. For example, high glucose, which would be seen with diabetes, excessive alcohol and oxidative stress, can lead to reduced neurogenesis."

The researchers concluded that increased inflammation in the brains of the aged animals led to reduced production of stem cells, but that stem cell renewal created a rejuvenating effect. They found that NT-020 treated animals had fewer activated inflammatory cells in the brain, reflecting a decrease in factors that reduced the production of stem cells.

"NT-020 may have not only a positive effect on the stem cell niche," concluded Bickford. "NT-020 may have far-reaching effects on organ function beyond the replacement of injured cells, as demonstrated by cognitive improvement in the NT-020 group."

Explore further: Diet affects men's and women's gut microbes differently

Provided by University of South Florida

4 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stem cell activity deciphered in the aging brain

Dec 18, 2006

Neurobiologists have discovered why the aging brain produces progressively fewer new nerve cells in its learning and memory center. The scientists said the finding, made in rodents, refutes current ideas on how long crucial ...

Stem cells are good for the brain

Jul 15, 2008

For some years, scientists have been speculating over why stem cells exist in the brain, as brain regeneration is limited. A German team of neuroscientists believe these stem cells help keep the brain healthy and active.

Recommended for you

Diet affects men's and women's gut microbes differently

14 hours ago

The microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to diet, even when the diets are identical, according to a study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and six other institutions published ...

Researchers explore what happens when heart cells fail

15 hours ago

Through a grant from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Naomi Chesler will embark upon a new collaborative research project to better understand ...

Stem cells from nerves form teeth

17 hours ago

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that stem cells inside the soft tissues of the tooth come from an unexpected source, namely nerves. These findings are now being published in the journal Nature and co ...

User comments : 0