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AbstractVitamin A and its derivatives, the retinoids, essential for human health, modulate several physiological processes through their interactions with the nuclear retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). They are involved in the modulation of cerebral plasticity including hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity, known to underlie cognitive processes. Interestingly, retinoic acid (RA) hyposignaling, which contributes to the deterioration of hippocampal plasticity and function during aging, can be reversed by vitamin A supplementation or RA treatment. However, it is still not clear how vitamin A status modulates plasticity and memory. It is commonly accepted that RA, by binding to its specific nuclear receptors, regulates gene expression, including the expression of plasticity-related genes. Moreover, recent studies suggest that vitamin A could participate in the maintenance of neurobiological functions indirectly, through the glucocorticoid pathway. Here, we present data supporting the importance of vitamin A status in the maintenance of memory processes, and the contribution of naturally occurring RA hyposignaling during aging to the etiology of cognitive decline. We propose that vitamin A supplementation or RA treatment could be a potent way to prevent age-related cognitive impairments by maintaining normal vitamin A and glucocorticoid (GC) status in seniors.
Nutrition and Aging – iospress
Published: May 21, 2015
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