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Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Jun;20(5):297-304. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2015.1133030. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

Mauritia flexuosa L. protects against deficits in memory acquisition and oxidative stress in rat hippocampus induced by methylmercury exposure.

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a Laboratório de Neuroendocrinologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas , Universidade Federal do Pará , Brazil.
b Laboratório de Neurociências e Comportamento, Núcleo de Teoria e Pesquisa do Comportamento , Universidade Federal do Pará , Brazil.
c Laboratório de Protozoologia, Núcleo de Medicina Tropical , Universidade Federal do Pará , Brazil.
d Laboratório de Neurofisiologia Eduardo Oswaldo Cruz, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas , Universidade Federal do Pará , Brazil.
e Laboratório de Farmacologia Molecular, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas , Universidade Federal do Pará , Brazil.
f Laboratório de Química Farmacêutica, Faculdade de Farmácia, Instituto de Ciências da Saúde , Universidade Federal do Pará , Brazil.



Methylmercury (MeHg) is the most toxic form of mercury that can affect humans through the food chain by bioaccumulation. Human organism is capable of triggering visual and cognitive disorders, neurodegeneration, as well as increased production of reactive species of O2 and depletion of natural anti-oxidant agents. In this context, Mauritia flexuosa L., a fruit rich in compounds with anti-oxidant properties, emerged as an important strategy to prevent the MeHg damages. So, this work has aimed to elucidate the protective effect of Mauritia flexuosa L. on the damage caused by the exposure of rats to MeHg.


In order to evaluate the effect of MeHg on rat aversive memory acquisition and panic-like behavior, we have used elevated T-maze apparatus and after behavioral test, the hippocampus was removed to perfom lipid peroxidation.


Our results demonstrated that the exposure to MeHg caused deficits in inhibitory avoidance acquisition (aversive conditioning) and in the learning process, and increased levels of lipid peroxidation in hippocampus tissue. However, the pretreatment with feed enriched with Mauritia flexuosa L. showed a protective effect against cognitive deficits caused by MeHg and also prevented the occurrence of cytoplasmic membrane damage induced by lipid peroxidation in the hippocampal region.


Therefore, this study suggests that Mauritia flexuosa L. represents an important strategy to prevent neurocytotoxics and behavioral effects of MeHg.


Hippocampus; Mauritia flexuosa L; Memory acquisition; Methylmercury; Oxidative stress

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