, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 211-217

Pretreatment with Vitamins E and C Prevent the Impairment of Memory Caused by Homocysteine Administration in Rats

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Abstract

Homocystinuria is a metabolic disorder caused by deficiency of cystathione β-synthase activity leading to tissue accumulation of homocysteine (Hcy); affected patients present neurological dysfunction. Considering that Hcy induces free radical formation and that memory is impaired by oxidative stress, in the present study we investigated the effect of an acute administration of Hcy on retrieval of step-down inhibitory avoidance in adult rats. The action of vitamins E and C on the effects produced by Hcy was also tested. Adult Wistar rats were pretreated for 1 week with daily i.p. administration of saline (control group) and vitamins E and C (vitamin E 40 mg/kg and vitamin C 100 mg/kg). Hcy (11 mmol/kg) or an equivalent volume of 0.9% saline were administered 1 h before training, 1 h before testing, or immediately after training sessions. Memory was significantly impaired in Hcy-treated group, whereas the rats chronically treated with vitamins E and C had this effect prevented. Present data strongly indicate that Hcy administration impairs memory, an effect probably mediated by oxidative stress since treatment with vitamins E and C prevented amnesia. Assuming the possibility that this might occur in the human condition, reported results may be relevant to explain, at least in part, neurologic dysfunction associated with homocystinuria.