Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 39–51 | Cite as

Walnut supplementation reverses the scopolamine-induced memory impairment by restoration of cholinergic function via mitigating oxidative stress in rats: a potential therapeutic intervention for age related neurodegenerative disorders

  • Saida HaiderEmail author
  • Zehra Batool
  • Saara Ahmad
  • Rafat Ali Siddiqui
  • Darakhshan Jabeen Haleem
Original Article


The brain is highly susceptible to the damaging effects of oxidative reactive species. The free radicals which are produced as a consequence of aerobic respiration can cause cumulative oxygen damage which may lead to age-related neurodegeneration. Scopolamine, the anti-muscarinic agent, induces amnesia and oxidative stress similar to that observed in the older age. Studies suggest that antioxidants derived from plant products may provide protection against oxidative stress. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the attenuation of scopolamine-induced memory impairment and oxidative stress by walnut supplementation in rats. Rats in test group were administrated with walnut suspension (400 mg/kg/day) for four weeks. Both control and walnut-treated rats were then divided into saline and scopolamine-treated groups. Rats in the scopolamine group were injected with scopolamine (0.5 mg/kg dissolved in saline) five minutes before the start of each memory test. Memory was assessed by elevated plus maze (EPM), Morris water maze (MWM), and novel object recognition task (NOR) followed by estimation of regional acetylcholine levels and acetylcholinesterase activity. In the next phase, brain oxidative status was determined by assaying lipid peroxidation, and measuring superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT) activities. Results showed that scopolamine-treatment impaired memory function, caused cholinergic dysfunction, and induced oxidative stress in rats compared to that saline-treated controls. These impairments were significantly restored by pre-administration of walnut. This study demonstrates that antioxidant properties of walnut may provide augmented effects on cholinergic function by reducing oxidative stress and thus improving memory performance.


Acetylcholine Acetylcholinesterase Memory Oxidative stress Scopolamine Walnut 







Elevated plus maze


Glutathione peroxidase




Reactive oxygen species


Morris water maze


Novel object recognition


Passive avoidance task


Superoxide dismutase





This research work was supported by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017
Corrected publication October/2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saida Haider
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zehra Batool
    • 1
  • Saara Ahmad
    • 2
  • Rafat Ali Siddiqui
    • 3
  • Darakhshan Jabeen Haleem
    • 4
  1. 1.Neurochemistry and Biochemical Neuropharmacology Research Unit, Department of BiochemistryUniversity of KarachiKarachiPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Biomedical SciencesThe Aga Khan UniversityKarachiPakistan
  3. 3.Food Chemistry and Nutrition Science LaboratoryVirginia State UniversityPetersburgUSA
  4. 4.Neuroscience Research Laboratory, Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug ResearchUniversity of KarachiKarachiPakistan

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