Antioxidant Treatments Recover the Alteration of Auditory-Evoked Potentials and Reduce Morphological Damage in the Inferior Colliculus after Perinatal Asphyxia in Rat

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Maturation of the auditory pathway is dependent on the central nervous system myelination and it can be affected by pathologies such as neonatal hypoxic ischemic (HI) encephalopathy. Our aim was to evaluate the functional integrity of the auditory pathway and to visualize, by histological and cellular methods, the damage to the brainstem using a neonatal rat model of HI brain injury. To carry out this morphofunctional evaluation, we studied the effects of the administration of the antioxidants nicotine, melatonin, resveratrol and docosahexaenoic acid after hypoxia-ischemia on the inferior colliculus and the auditory pathway. We found that the integrity of the auditory pathway in the brainstem was altered as a consequence of the HI insult. Thus, the auditory brainstem response (ABR) showed increased I–V and III–V wave latencies. At a histological level, HI altered the morphology of the inferior colliculus neurons, astrocytes and oligodendricytes, and at a molecular level, the mitochondria membrane potential and integrity was altered during the first hours after the HI and reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity is increased 12 h after the injury in the brainstem. Following antioxidant treatment, ABR interpeak latency intervals were restored and the body and brain weight was recovered as well as the morphology of the inferior colliculus that was similar to the control group. Our results support the hypothesis that antioxidant treatments have a protective effect on the functional changes of the auditory pathway and on the morphological damage which occurs after HI insult.

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