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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2010 Aug;68(4):579-85.

Neuronal damage and memory deficits after seizures are reversed by ascorbic acid?

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Laboratory of Experimental Research in Biological Sciences, Federal University of Piauí, PI, Brazil.


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of ascorbic acid (AA) in rats, against the neuronal damage and memory deficit caused by seizures. Wistar rats were treated with 0.9% saline (i.p., control group), ascorbic acid (500 mg/kg, i.p., AA group), pilocarpine (400 mg/kg, i.p., pilocarpine group), and the association of ascorbic acid (500 mg/kg, i.p.) plus pilocarpine (400 mg/kg, i.p.), 30 min before of administration of ascorbic acid (AA plus pilocarpine group). After the treatments all groups were observed for 24 h. Pilocarpine group presented seizures which progressed to status epilepticus in 75% of the animals. Pretreatment with AA led to a reduction of 50% of this rate. Results showed that pretreatment with AA did not alter reference memory when compared to a control group. In the working memory task, we observed a significant day's effect with important differences between control, pilocarpine and AA plus pilocarpine groups. Pilocarpine and AA plus pilocarpine groups had 81 and 16% of animals with brain injury, respectively. In the hippocampus of pilocarpine animals, it was detected an injury of 60%. As for the animals tested with AA plus pilocarpine, the hippocampal region of the group had a reduction of 43% in hippocampal lesion. Our findings suggest that seizures caused cognitive dysfunction and neuronal damage that might be related, at least in part, to the neurological problems presented by epileptic patients. AA can reverse cognitive dysfunction observed in rats with seizures as well as decrease neuronal injury in rat hippocampus.

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