New research shows extended exposure to caffeine and sucrose impacts behaviour and brain chemistry

7 February 2014

New research suggests the long-term consumption of caffeinated sugar-sweetened drinks in place of water can cause lasting changes to behaviour, having profound effects on brain chemistry.

Long-term treatment (26 days) with caffeine in adult rats and sugar in adolescent rats enhances the behavioural response to drug administration, when compared to combined treated animals, after short (1 week) and long (6 week) treatment free periods, respectively.

Proteomic analyses of the brain identified over 500 differentially expressed proteins across pretreatments in the orbitofrontal cortex, an important brain region in decision making processes. Approximately 23 per cent of the proteins in the combined pretreated rats were changed when compared to control.

This study demonstrates that chronic caffeine and sucrose consumption causes enduring behavioral effects that are age and time dependent, and are accompanied by protein changes that may impact on mental health.

Franklin JL1, Mirzaei M2, Wearne TA1, Homewood J1, Goodchild AK2, Haynes PA3, Cornish JL1, 1. Departments of Psychology, 2. Australian School of Advanced Medicine, 3. Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW,


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