Hadis Said Mohammadi, Iran Goudarzi, Taghi Lashkar bolouki, Kataneh Abrari, Mahmoud Elahdadi Salmani
Behavioural Brain Research
Publication year:


There are several reports that cognitive impairment is observed in stress related disorders and chronic stress impairs learning and memory. However, very few studies have looked into the possible ways of preventing this stress-induced deficit. This research study was conducted to evaluate the effects of quercetin, a natural flavonoid, with strong antioxidant and free radical scavenger properties, on chronic stress induced learning and memory deficits and oxidative stress in hippocampus. For chronic stress, rats were restrained daily for 6h/day (from 9:00 to 15:00) for 21 days in well-ventilated plexiglass tubes without access to food and water. The animals were injected with quercetin or vehicle 60 min before restraint stress over a period of 21 days. Then, rats trained with six trials per day for 6 consecutive days in the water maze. On day 28, a probe test was done to measure memory retention. In addition, oxidative stress markers in the hippocampus were evaluated. Results of this study demonstrated that chronic stress exposure rats exhibited higher escape latency during training trials and reduced time spent in target quadrant, higher escape location latency and average proximity in probe trial test. Quercetin (50mg/kg) treatment during restraint stress (21 days) markedly decreased escape latency and increased time spent in target quadrant during Morris water maze task. In comparison to vehicle treated group, chronic-stress group had significantly higher malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, significantly higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and significantly lower glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in the hippocampus. Quercetin treatment caused a significant decrease in the hippocampus MDA levels and improves SOD and GPx activities in stressed animals. Finally, quercetin significantly decreased plasma corticosterone levels in stressed animals. Based on results of this study, chronic stress has detrimental effects on learning and memory and quercetin treatment can prevent from oxidative stress and impairment of learning and memory induced by chronic stress.