Increased plasma d-lactic acid associated with impaired memory in rats

T. L. Hanstock, P. E. Mallet, E. H. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Aim: d-Lactic acidosis is associated with memory impairment in humans. Recent research indicates that d-lactic acid may inhibit the supply of energy from astrocytes to neurons involved with memory formation. However, little is known about the effects of increased hind-gut fermentation due to changes in diet on circulating lactic acid concentrations and memory. Method: Thirty-six male Wistar rats were fed three dietary treatments: a commercial rat and mouse chow, a soluble carbohydrate based diet or a fermentable carbohydrate based diet. The parameters estimating memory were examined by employing the object recognition test. Physical parameters of fermentation including hind-gut and plasma lactic acid concentrations were examined after sacrifice, either 3 or 21. h after feeding. Results: Increased fermentation in the hind-gut of rats, indicated by lower caecum pH, was associated with increased plasma l-lactic acid (r= -0.41, p= 0.020) and d-lactic acid (r= -0.33, p= 0.087). Memory, being able to discriminate between a familiar and a novel object during the object recognition test, was reduced with increasing plasma d-lactic acid (r= -0.51, p= 0.021). Conclusions: Memory impairment was associated with alterations in plasma d-lactic acid following the fermentation of carbohydrate in the hind-gut. Further work is still required to determine whether these effects are mediated centrally or via direct connections through the enteric nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-659
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Caecum
  • Hind-gut acidosis
  • Lactate
  • Memory
  • Object recognition test
  • Rats


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