Intermittent cold-induced hippocampal oxidative stress is associated with changes in the plasma lipid composition and is modifiable by vitamins C and E in old rats

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This study primarily investigated the effects of intermittent cold exposure (ICE) on oxidative stress (OS) in the hippocampus(HC) and plasma lipid profile of old male rats. Secondly, it evaluated structural changes in the hippocampus region of the rat’s brain. Thirdly, it attempted an evaluation of the effectiveness of the combined supplement of vitamins C and E in alleviating cold stress in terms of these biochemical parameters. Thirty male rats aged 24 months were divided into groups of five each: control (CON), cold-exposed at 10 °C (C10), cold-exposed at 5 °C (C5), supplemented control (CON+S), and supplemented cold-exposed at either 5 °C (C5+S) or 10 °C (C10+S). The rats were on a daily supplement of vitamin C and vitamin E. Cold exposure lasted 2 h/day for 4 weeks. Rats showed increased levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in the HC at 10 °C with further increase at 5 °C. Cold also induced neuronal loss in the hippocampus with concomitant elevations in total cholesterol (TCH), triglycerides (TG) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL-C) levels, and a depletion in high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C). A notable feature was the hyperglycaemic effects of ICE and depleted levels of vitamins C and E in the hippocampus and plasma while supplementation increased their levels. More importantly, a positive correlation was observed between plasmatic LDL-C, TCH and TG and hippocampal TBARS and H2O2 levels. Further, intensity of cold emerged as a significant factor impacting the responses to vitamin C and E supplementation. These results suggest that cold-induced changes in the plasma lipid profile correlate with OS in the hippocampus, and that vitamin C and E together are effective in protecting from metabolic and possible cognitive consequences in the old under cold exposures.

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