Astaxanthin ameliorates scopolamine-induced spatial memory via reduced cortical-striato-hippocampal oxidative stress.
Brain Res. 2018 Dec 12. Epub 2018 Dec 12. PMID: 30552898
Md Mamun Al-Amin
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by progressive disruption of cholinergic neurotransmission and impaired cognitive functions. In rodents, scopolamine has been used to induce cholinergic dysfunction resulting in cognitive impairments and an increment of oxidative stress in the brain. Here we tested whether oxidative stress can be attenuated via an antioxidant (astaxanthin) to rescue scopolamine-induced spatial memory. For this purpose, we administered either 0.9% saline (control), or scopolamine (SCP), or scopolamine plus astaxanthin (SCP+AST) to Swiss albino mice (ten weeks old; n = 20) for 28 consecutive days and subsequently examined animals' locomotor activity, spatial learning, and memory performance. The mice were then euthanized and prefrontal cortex (PFC), striatum (ST), hippocampus (HP), and liver tissues were assayed for antioxidant enzymes, glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and nitric oxide (NO). The SCP group exhibited impaired spatial learning and significantly altered levels of antioxidant enzymes and NO in the PFC, ST, and HP. In contrast, SCP+AST treatment did not cause spatial learning deficits. Furthermore, this condition also showed unaltered levels of SOD and NO in the ST and HP. Taken together, our results show that scopolamine may interrupt the striatal-hippocampal cholinergic activity resulting in impaired spatial memory. At the same time, these impairments are extinguished with astaxanthin by preventing oxidative damage in the striatal-hippocampal cholinergic neurons. Therefore, we suggest astaxanthin as a potential treatment to slow the onset or progression of cognitive dysfunctions that are elicited by abnormal cholinergic neurotransmission in Alzheimer's disease.