Emerging evidence suggests that a group of dietary-derived phytochemicals known as flavonoids are able to induce improvements in memory, learning and cognition. Flavonoids have been shown to modulate critical neuronal signalling pathways involved in processes of memory, and therefore are likely to affect synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation mechanisms, widely considered to provide a basis for memory. Animal dietary supplementation studies have further shown that flavonoid-rich foods are able to reverse age-related spatial memory and spatial learning impairments. A more accurate understanding of how a particular spatial memory task works and of which aspects of memory and learning can be assessed in each case, are necessary for a correct interpretation of data relating to diet-cognition experiments. Further understanding of how specific behavioural tasks relate to the functioning of hippocampal circuitry during learning processes might be also elucidative of the specific observed memory improvements. The overall goal of this review is to give an overview of how the hippocampal circuitry operates as a memory system during behavioural tasks, which we believe will provide a new insight into the underlying mechanisms of the action of flavonoids on cognition.
|Journal||Genes & Nutrition|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2009|