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Brain Res. 2017 Mar 15;1659:81-87. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2017.01.026. Epub 2017 Jan 23.

Long-term cognitive effects of uridine treatment in a neonatal rat model of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

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Uludag University School of Medicine, Department of Physiology, Bursa, Turkey. Electronic address:
Uludag University School of Medicine, Department of Physiology, Bursa, Turkey.
Uludag University School of Medicine, Department of Histology and Embryology, Bursa, Turkey.
Uludag University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Bursa, Turkey.


Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), is the most common brain disorder in neonates during the perinatal period, which, to date, can only be managed to some extent by hypothermia. Uridine is the principal circulating pyrimidine in humans which is utilized as a precursor for membrane phospholipid biosynthesis. Uridine has recently been shown to provide clinical benefit in treatment of Alzheimer's disease due to its involvement in increasing number of brain synapses along with other phospholipid precursors. We previously showed that uridine treatment ameliorated brain damage by reducing apoptosis in a rat model of neonatal HIE. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of uridine administration on cognitive functions during periadolescent period in rats subjected to hypoxic-ischemic (HI) brain damage in neonatal period. Male newborn rats were subjected to HI insult on postnatal day 7 (P7) and were injected intraperitoneally with either saline or uridine (500mg/kg) for three consecutive days. Part of pups in each group were sacrificed on P10 to collect brain samples for active Caspase-3 analyses and the remaining pups were raised through P40 to evaluate early reflexes, sensorimotor coordination and learning and memory functions by Negative Geotaxis (NG), Beam Walking (BW) and Morris Water Maze (MWM) tasks, respectively. Confirming our previous findings, we showed that uridine administration reduced apoptotic cell damage on P10. No significant difference was observed between uridine and saline groups in early reflexes or sensorimotor coordination. On the other hand, rats receiving uridine displayed improved learning and memory in MWM during periadolescent period. We conclude that uridine treatment improves learning and memory in the long term by, probably, reducing apoptotic cell death in early newborn period. This is the first study to show beneficial cognitive effects of uridine in rats with brain damage.


Behavior; Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; Learning and memory; Neonatal rat; Uridine

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