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Mol Med Rep. 2016 Apr;13(4):3147-54. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2016.4903. Epub 2016 Feb 18.

Carbonated soft drinks induce oxidative stress and alter the expression of certain genes in the brains of Wistar rats.

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Al‑Saedan Research Chair for Genetic Behavioral Disorders, Taif University, Taif, Mecca 21421, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Medical Laboratory Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Taif University, Turabah, Mecca 21411, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Taif University, Taif, Mecca 11111, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


In Saudi Arabia, the consumption of carbonated soft drinks is common and often occurs with each meal. Carbonated soft drink consumption has been shown to exhibit effects on the liver, kidney and bone. However, the effects of these soft drinks on brain activity have not been widely examined, particularly at the gene level. Therefore, the current study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the effects of chronic carbonated soft drink consumption on oxidative stress, brain gene biomarkers associated with aggression and brain histology. In total, 40 male Wistar rats were divided into four groups: Group 1 served as a control and was provided access to food and water ad libitum; and groups 2‑4 were given free access to food and carbonated soft drinks only (Cola for group 2, Pepsi for group 3 and 7‑UP for group 4). Animals were maintained on these diets for 3 consecutive months. Upon completion of the experimental period, animals were sacrificed and serological and histopathological analyses were performed on blood and tissues samples. Reverse transcription‑polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze alterations in gene expression levels. Results revealed that carbonated soft drinks increased the serum levels of malondialdehyde (MDA). Carbonated soft drinks were also observed to downregulate the expression of antioxidants glutathione reductase (GR), catalase and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in the brain when compared with that in the control rats. Rats administered carbonated soft drinks also exhibited decreased monoamine oxidase A (MAO‑A) and acetylcholine esterase (AChE) serum and mRNA levels in the brain. In addition, soft drink consumption upregulated mRNA expression of dopamine D2 receptor (DD2R), while 5-hydroxytryptamine transporter (5‑HTT) expression was decreased. However, following histological examination, all rats had a normal brain structure. The results of this study demonstrated that that carbonated soft drinks induced oxidative stress and altered the expression of certain genes that are associated with the brain activity and thus should be consumed with caution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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