Since oxidative stress is implicated in the pathophysiology of dementia and depression, this study was designed to investigate the pro-oxidant activity of rotenone, the protective role of standardized extract of Hypericum perforatum (SHP), as well as the mRNA levels of antioxidant enzymes, in brain homogenates of rats following exposure to rotenone and SHP extract. Quercetin in liposomes, one active constituent, was tested in the same experimental conditions to serve as a positive control. The animals received pretreatment with SHP (4 mg/kg) or quercetin liposomes (25 and 100 mg/kg) 60 min before of rotenone injection (2 mg/kg). All treatments were given intraperitoneally in a volume of 0.5 ml/kg body weight, for 45 days. Rotenone treatment increased activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and levels of malondialdehyde (MDA). The content of reduced glutathione (GSH) was decreased due to chronic rotenone treatment. Rotenone significantly induced the gene expression of CuZnSOD, MnSOD; CAT and GPx in brain. In contrast, SHP extract exerted an antioxidant action which was related with a decreased of MnSOD activity and mRNA levels of some antioxidant enzymes evaluated. Liposomal quercetin treatment resulted in a significant preservation of the activities of antioxidant enzymes and a decreased in the mRNA levels of these antioxidant enzymes. One possible mechanism of action of SHP extract may be related to quercetin in protecting neurons from oxidative damage. Therefore standardized extract of H. perforatum could be a better alternative for depressed elderly patients with degenerative disorder exhibiting elevated oxidative stress status.