αCaMKII, widely occurring in the central nervous system, plays a significant role in cognitive processes. It is well known that diabetes is a risk factor that may trigger brain atrophy, cognitive dysfunction and finally lead to memory loss. Antioxidants richly present in bilberry fruits are believed to have significant effects on diabetes-related brain dysfunctions mainly due to their abilities to modulate neurotransmitter release that lead to reduction of the negative impact of free radicals on cognitive processes. The aim of the present research was to immunohistochemically investigate the expression patterns of αCaMKII in hippocampal neurons from non-diabetic, diabetic and diabetic rats fed with an extract of bilberry fruit. The obtained results show that in comparison to the control group, in diabetic rats hippocampal neurons immunoreactive (ir) to αCaMKII were swollen and the lengths of the neuronal fibres were reduced. Further study shows that in diabetic rats fed with bilberry fruit, αCaMKII-positive nerve fibres were significantly longer when compared to the groups of diabetic and control rats. Additionally, we observed statistically significant changes in the average larger diameter of αCaMKII-ir hippocampal neurons between groups of diabetic rats (with vs. without supplement of bilberry fruit). The results of the present work suggest that antioxidants present in bilberry fruits influence the morphology of and possibly exhibit beneficial and neuroprotective effects on hippocampal neurons during diabetes. It is likely that changes in the appearance of αCaMKII-expressed hippocampal neurons may reflect the diabetes-evoked rise in Ca2+ level in the cerebral nerve terminals. The present research extends our knowledge of preventive mechanisms for cognitive dysfunctions occurring in the brain during diabetes.
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