British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Effects of long-term administration of a cocoa polyphenolic extract (Acticoa powder) on cognitive performances in aged rats

Jean-François Bissona1, Amine Nejdia1, Pascale Rozana1, Sophie Hidalgoa1, Robert Lalondea2 and Michaël Messaoudia1 c1

a1 ETAP-Applied Ethology, 13 rue du Bois de la Champelle, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy 54500, France

a2 CHUM/St-Luc, Neuroscience Research Center, 1058 St-Denis Street, Montréal H2X 3J4, PQ, Canada


Numerous studies have indicated that increased vulnerability to oxidative stress may be the main factor involved in functional declines during normal and pathological ageing, and that antioxidant agents, such as polyphenols, may improve or prevent these deficits. We examined whether 1-year administration of a cocoa polyphenolic extract (Acticoa powder), orally delivered at the dose of 24 mg/kg per d between 15 and 27 months of age, affects the onset of age-related cognitive deficits, urinary free dopamine levels and lifespan in old Wistar-Unilever rats. Acticoa powder improved cognitive performances in light extinction and water maze paradigms, increased lifespan and preserved high urinary free dopamine levels. These results suggest that Acticoa powder may be beneficial in retarding age-related brain impairments, including cognitive deficits in normal ageing and perhaps neurodegenerative diseases. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms of cocoa polyphenols in neuroprotection and to explore their effects in man.

(Received May 29 2007)

(Revised September 13 2007)

(Accepted November 02 2007)

(Online publication January 08 2008)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Michaël Messaoudi, fax +33 383 446 441, email


Abbreviations: AP24, Acticoa powder (24 mg/kg per d)