Diabetic conditions are associated with modified brain function, namely with cognitive deficits, through largely undetermined processes. More than understanding the underlying mechanism, it is important to devise novel strategies to alleviate diabetes-induced cognitive deficits. Caffeine (a mixed antagonist of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors) emerges as a promising candidate since caffeine consumption reduces the risk of diabetes and effectively prevents memory deficits caused by different noxious stimuli. Thus, we took advantage of a novel animal model of type 2 diabetes to investigate the behavioural, neurochemical and morphological modifications present in the hippocampus and tested if caffeine consumption might prevent these changes. We used a model closely mimicking the human type 2 diabetes condition, NONcNZO10/LtJ mice, which become diabetic at 7–11 months when kept under an 11% fat diet. Caffeine (1 g/l) was applied in the drinking water from 7 months onwards. Diabetic mice displayed a decreased spontaneous alternation in the Y-maze accompanied by a decreased density of nerve terminal markers (synaptophysin, SNAP25), mainly glutamatergic (vesicular glutamate transporters), and increased astrogliosis (GFAP immunoreactivity) compared to their wild type littermates kept under the same diet. Furthermore, diabetic mice displayed up-regulated A2A receptors and down-regulated A1 receptors in the hippocampus. Caffeine consumption restored memory performance and abrogated the diabetes-induced loss of nerve terminals and astrogliosis. These results provide the first evidence that type 2 diabetic mice display a loss of nerve terminal markers and astrogliosis, which is associated with memory impairment.
SOURCE: Duarte JMN, Agostinho PM, Carvalho RA, Cunha RA (2012) Caffeine Consumption Prevents Diabetes-Induced Memory Impairment and Synaptotoxicity in the Hippocampus of NONcZNO10/LTJ Mice. PLoS ONE 7(4): e21899. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021899