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Sustained consumption of cocoa-based dark chocolate enhances seizure-like events in the mouse hippocampus

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Abstract

While the consumption of caffeine and cocoa has been associated with a variety of health benefits to humans, some authors have proposed that excessive caffeine intake may increase the frequency of epileptic seizures in humans and reduce the efficiency of antiepileptic drugs. Little is known, however, about the proconvulsant potential of the sustained, excessive intake of cocoa on hippocampal neural circuits. Using the mouse as an experimental model, we examined the effects of the chronic consumption of food enriched in cocoa-based dark chocolate on motor and mood-related behaviours as well as on the excitability properties of hippocampal neurons. Cocoa food enrichment did not affect body weights or mood-related behaviours but rather promoted general locomotion and improved motor coordination. However, ex vivo electrophysiological analysis revealed a significant enhancement in seizure-like population spike bursting at the neurogenic dentate gyrus, which was paralleled by a significant reduction in the levels of GABA-α1 receptors thus suggesting that an excessive dietary intake of cocoa-enriched food might alter some of the synaptic elements involved in epileptogenesis. These data invite further multidisciplinary research aiming to elucidate the potential deleterious effects of chocolate abuse on behaviour and brain hyperexcitability.

Graphical abstract: Sustained consumption of cocoa-based dark chocolate enhances seizure-like events in the mouse hippocampus

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Oct 2017, accepted on 18 Jan 2018 and first published on 19 Jan 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7FO01668A
Citation: Food Funct., 2018, Advance Article
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    Sustained consumption of cocoa-based dark chocolate enhances seizure-like events in the mouse hippocampus

    A. Cicvaric, T. Bulat, D. Bormann, J. Yang, B. Auer, I. Milenkovic, M. Cabatic, R. Milicevic and F. J. Monje, Food Funct., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7FO01668A

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