Environmental enrichment recovers memory deficits without affecting atrophy of the hippocampus adult rats submitted to neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI). The present study was designed to investigate whether the modulation of brain oxidative status and/or BDNF content, as assessed in adulthood, are involved with the functional neuroprotection caused by environmental enrichment in animals receiving neonatal HI. Male Wistar rats, in the 7th postnatal day, were submitted to the Levine-Rice model of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia, comprising permanent occlusion of the right common carotid artery and a 90 min period of hypoxia (8% O(2)-92% N(2)). Starting 2 weeks after the HI event, animals were stimulated by the enriched environment (1 h/day for 9 weeks). Rats were sacrificed approximately 24 h after the end of enrichment period and some oxidative stress parameters, specifically the free radical levels, macromolecules damage and superoxide dismutase activity, in hippocampus and frontal cortex samples were determined. BDNF levels were also measured in the same encephalic structures. Indexes of macromolecules damage, TBARS levels and total cellular thiols, as well as free radical levels were unchanged in both studied structures. An increased SOD activity in the right hippocampus of HI group maintained in standard environment was found, this effect was reversed in HI enriched group. Moreover, BDNF levels were increased only in the hippocampus of non-stimulated HI group. These results suggest that the environmental enrichment protocol bearing cognitive protection is not associated to increases in BDNF expression nor SOD activity in hippocampus of the rats, as assessed in adulthood, submitted to neonatal hypoxia-ischemia.
Hypoxia-ischemia (HI) is the main cause of mortality in the perinatal period and morbidity, in survivors, which is characterized by neurological disabilities. The immature brain is highly susceptible to hypoxic-ischemic insult and is responsive to environmental stimuli, such as environmental enrichment (EE). Previous results indicate that EE recovered memory deficits in adult rats without reversing hippocampal atrophy related to HI. The aim of this study was to investigate behavioral performance in the open field and rota-rod apparatuses, in object recognition and inhibitory avoidance tasks, as well as dendritic spine density in the hippocampus, in rats undergoing HI and exposed to EE. Seven-day old male rats were submitted to the HI procedure and divided into 4 groups: control maintained in standard environment (CTSE), controls submitted to EE (CTEE), HI in standard environment (HISE) and HI in EE (HIEE). Behavioral and morphological parameters were evaluated 9 weeks after the environmental stimulation. Results indicate impairment in the object recognition task after HI that was recovered by enrichment; however the aversive memory impairment in the inhibitory avoidance task shown by hypoxic-ischemic rats was independent of the environment condition. Hypoxic-ischemic groups showed more crossing responses during the first minute in the open field, when compared to controls, but no differences were found between experimental groups in the rota-rod test. Dendritic spine density in the CA1 subfield of the right hippocampus (ipsilateral to the artery occlusion) was decreased after the HI insult, and increased in enriched controls; interestingly enriched HI rats did not differ from CTSE. In conclusion, EE was effective in recovering declarative memory impairment in object recognition and preserved hippocampal dendritic spine density loss after neonatal HI injury.
Global ischemia arising during cardiac arrest or cardiac surgery causes highly selective, delayed death of hippocampal CA1 neurons. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant-derived compounds that are present in the human diet and are considered selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulators. The phytoestrogen coumestrol is a potent isoflavonoid, with binding affinities for both ER-? and ER-? that are comparable to those of 17 b-estradiol. The present study examined the hypothesis that coumestrol protects hippocampal neurons in ovariectomized rats in a model of cerebral global ischemia. Ovariectomized rats were subjected to global ischemia (10 min) or sham surgery and received a single intracerebroventricular or peripheral infusion of 20 ?g of coumestrol, 20 ?g of estradiol or vehicle 1h before ischemia or 0 h, 3h, 6h or 24h after reperfusion. Estradiol and coumestrol afforded significant neuroprotection in all times of administration, with the exception of estradiol given 24h after the ischemic insult. Animals received icv infusion of the broad-spectrum ER antagonist ICI 182,780 (50 ?g) or vehicle into the lateral ventricle just before the E2 or coumestrol administration. The ER antagonist abolished estradiol protection, consistent with a role of classical ERs. In contrast, ICI 182,780 effected only partial reversal of the neuroprotective actions of coumestrol, suggesting that other cellular mediators in addition to classical ERs may be important. Additional research is needed to determine the molecular targets mediating the neuroprotective action of coumestrol and the therapeutic potential of this phytoestrogen in the mature nervous system.
Folic acid plays an important role in neuroplasticity and acts as a neuroprotective agent, as observed in experimental brain ischemia studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of folic acid on locomotor activity, aversive memory and Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity in the frontal cortex and striatum in animals subjected to neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI). Wistar rats of both sexes at postnatal day 7 underwent HI procedure and were treated with intraperitoneal injections of folic acid (0.011 ?mol/g body weight) once a day, until the 30th postnatal day. Starting on the day after, behavioral assessment was run in the open field and in the inhibitory avoidance task. Animals were sacrificed by decapitation 24 h after testing and striatum and frontal cortex were dissected out for Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity analysis. Results show anxiogenic effect in the open field and an impairment of aversive memory in the inhibitory avoidance test in HI rats; folic acid treatment prevented both behavioral effects. A decreased Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity in striatum, both ipsilateral and contralateral to ischemia, was identified after HI; a total recovery was observed in animals treated with folic acid. A partial recovery of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity was yet seen in frontal cortex of HI animals receiving folic acid supplementation. Presented results support that folic acid treatment prevents memory deficit and anxiety-like behavior, as well as prevents Na(+),K(+)-ATPase inhibition in the striatum and frontal cortex caused by neonatal hypoxia-ischemia.
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