Reduction of anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors in rats after one month of drinking Aronia melanocarpa berry juice
The treatment of mood and anxiety disorders by nutraceuticals is gaining growing awareness. Berries of Aronia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry) and their extracts, exceptionally abundant in diverse phenolic compounds, have become famous for the highest in vitro antioxidant activity among fruits and notable health benefits (e.g. anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective). This study was designed to investigate the behavioral effects of month-long unlimited consumption of Aronia master juice (AJ) and/or juice reconstruct without polyphenols (RJ), in young male rats. AJ was initially evaluated for its content of phenolic compounds by spectrophotometric assays and HPLC-DAD. Rats that were supplied with three various water concentrations of AJ and RJ, respectively: 20% + 0% (ARO group), 5% + 15% (RAJ) and 0 + 20% (PLC), were compared with those which consumed only water (CTL). Daily drinking of AJ solution was significantly elevated from the second or third week onward, which was most expressed in the ARO group. Only this group displayed behavioral variations, manifested by certain hyperactivity in open field tests and prominent reductions of anxiety-like behaviors in the elevated plus maze. The ARO rats also expressed an alleviation of depression-like behavior in forced swimming tests. These findings demonstrate the beneficial behavioral effects of the one-month-long free drinking of phenolic-rich AJ in rats (>20 ml per kg b. mass daily) that may be recognized as stimulating, anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like. The in vitro assays suggested that MAO-A/MAO-B inhibitions by the phenolic compounds of AJ might be the possible in vivo mechanisms for such behavioral actions.