There has been increasing evidence that consumption of dietary supplements or specific nutrients can influence cognitive processes and emotions. A proprietary chicken meat extraction, Chicken Meat Ingredient-168 (CMI-168), has previously been shown to enhance cognitive function in humans. However, the mechanism underlying the CMI-168-induced benefits remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of CMI-168 on hippocampal neuroplasticity and memory function in middle-aged (9–12 months old) mice. The mice in the test group (termed the “CMI-168 group”) were fed dietary pellets produced by mixing CMI-168 and normal laboratory mouse chow to provide a daily CMI-168 dose of 150 mg/kg of body weight for 6 weeks. The control mice (termed the “Chow group”) were fed normal laboratory mouse chow pellets. CMI-168 supplementation did not affect the body weight gain, food intake, or exploratory behavior of the mice. In the novel object recognition test, the CMI-168 group showed better hippocampus-related non-spatial memory compared to the control Chow group. However, spatial memory examined by the Morris Water Maze test was similar between the two groups. There was also no significant difference in the induction and maintenance of long-term potentiation and dendritic complexity of the hippocampal cornu ammonis region 1 (CA1) neurons, as well as the levels of neuroplasticity-related proteins in the hippocampi of the CMI-168 and Chow groups. Interestingly, we observed that CMI-168 appeared to protect the mice against stress-induced weight loss. In conclusion, dietary supplementation of CMI-168 was found to improve learning and memory in middle-aged mice, independent of structural or functional changes in the hippocampus. The resilience to stress afforded by CMI-168 warrants further investigation.
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