The brain has a high demand for energy, of which creatine (Cr) is an important regulator. Studies document neurocognitive benefits of oral Cr in mammals, yet little is known regarding their physiological basis. This study investigated the effects of Cr supplementation (3%, w/w) on hippocampal function in male C57BL/6 mice, including spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze and oxygen consumption rates from isolated mitochondria in real time. Levels of transcription factors and related proteins (CREB, Egr1, and I?B to indicate NF-?B activity), proteins implicated in cognition (CaMKII, PSD-95, and Egr2), and mitochondrial proteins (electron transport chain Complex I, mitochondrial fission protein Drp1) were probed with Western blotting. Dietary Cr decreased escape latency/time to locate the platform (P < 0.05) and increased the time spent in the target quadrant (P < 0.01) in the Morris water maze. This was accompanied by increased coupled respiration (P < 0.05) in isolated hippocampal mitochondria. Protein levels of CaMKII, PSD-95, and Complex 1 were increased in Cr-fed mice, whereas I?B was decreased. These data demonstrate that dietary supplementation with Cr can improve learning, memory, and mitochondrial function and have important implications for the treatment of diseases affecting memory and energy homeostasis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience