Calorie restriction (CR) is argued to positively affect general health, longevity and normally occurring age-related reduction of cognition. Obesity during adolescence may adversely affect cognition in adulthood but, to date effects of CR have not been investigated. We hypothesized that feeding with as low as 15% low-calorie diet (LCD) during adolescence would increase hippocampal and prefrontal BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels, proliferative cells and neuron numbers in dentate gyrus (DG), thus positively affecting spatial memory in adulthood. Spatial learning-memory function was improved in adult female Sprague Dawley rats fed with LCD during adolescence. PCNA (Proliferating cell nuclear antigen-cell proliferation marker) expressing cells and NeuN (Neuronal nuclear antigen-neuron marker) expressing cells in hippocampus DG which are critically involved in memory were increased. Hippocampus and prefrontal cortex BDNF levels were increased while serum glucose levels and level of lipid permddation indicator malondialdehyde in serum and hippocampus were reduced. Our unique results suggest that improved cognition in adult rats with LCD feeding during adolescence may result from the increase of neurogenesis and BDNF. These findings reveal the importance of nutrition in adolescence for cognitive function in adulthood. Our results may be useful for further studies aiming to treat age-related cognitive impairments. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.