Archives of gerontology and geriatrics, vol.99, pp.104584, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
Humans have been searching for ways of extending life span, and possible underlying molecular mechanisms behind it for many years. Traditional plants and their extracts are good candidates for finding anti-aging strategies. In addition to its usage in a variety of medical treatments such as inflammation, neural diseases and cancer, Astragalus membranaceus was used to extend lifespan of C. elegans. Therefore, we aimed to show the molecular mechanisms of the possible anti-aging effects of combination of A. membranaceus and caloric restriction. Herein, Wistar rats (n = 24) were divided into Control, A. membranaceus (A) (25 mg/kg A), Caloric restriction (CR) (20% restricted-diet), and CR+A (25 mg/kg A + 20% CR diet) groups. After 18 weeks, behavioral tests were applied to observe alterations on cognitive functions. After animals were decapitated, their hippocampi and livers were dissected for molecular analysis and telomerase activity. Eventually, CR increased learning performances of rats with an increase in the telomerase activity when combined with astragalus. There was a negative correlation between learning and apoptosis parameters. In the CR group, the apoptosis rate increased, and the pyramidal neuron numbers decreased which were reached to control levels with A treatment. The CR+A treatment significantly increased the BDNF level. The A also significantly increased GDNF level independent from CR. In the combination group, the neurogenesis and angiogenesis markers increased with an increase in the anti-senescence protein klotho land a decrease in the apoptosis. In conclusion, combination of caloric restriction with A. membranaceus would become a promising strategy for healthy cognitive aging.