The effects of treadmill running (8. weeks, 5 times/week, 1. h/day at 27. m/min), caloric restriction, and cocoa supplementation on brain function and oxidative stress markers were tested. The Morris maze test was used to appraise rat memory. Regular exercise significantly improved spatial learning performance. The level of oxidative stress was measured by the concentration of carbonylated proteins. The free radical concentration increased in brain of the training groups but not the controls. The content of reactive carbonyl derivates did not change with exercise, suggesting that the increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were well tolerated in this experimental model. Caloric restriction (CR) decreased the accumulation of free radicals in the frontal lobe. The protein content of brain-derived neutrophic factors (BDNFs) was evaluated and changes did not occur either with exercise or cocoa supplementation treatments. These data did not show significant effects of the administration of cocoa (2% w/w) on the concentration of ROS, BDNF or on spatial memory. Conversely, exercise and CR can play a role in ROS generation and brain function.
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