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Keywords:

  • Aging;
  • Brain function;
  • GK;
  • GLP-1;
  • Glucose sensing

Resistant starch (RS) is a dietary fiber that exerts multiple beneficial effects. The current study explored the effects of dietary RS on selected brain and behavioral functions in adult and aged rodents. Because glucokinase (GK) expression in hypothalamic arcuate nucleus and area postrema of the brainstem is important for brain glucose sensing, GK mRNA was measured by brain nuclei microdissection and PCR. Adult RS-fed rats had a higher GK mRNA than controls in both brain nuclei, an indicator of improved brain glucose sensing. Next, we tested whether dietary RS improve selected behaviors in aged mice. RS-fed aged mice exhibited (i) an increased eating responses to fasting, a behavioral indicator of improvement in aged brain glucose sensing; (ii) a longer latency to fall from an accelerating rotarod, a behavioral indicator of improved motor coordination; and (iii) a higher serum active glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Then, GLP-1 receptor null (GLP-1RKO) mice were used to test the role of GLP-1 in brain glucose sensing, and they exhibited impaired eating responses to fasting. We conclude that in rodents (i) dietary RS improves two important indicators of brain function: glucose sensing and motor coordination, and (ii) GLP-1 is important in the optimal feeding response to a fast.