Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of colchicine, a microtubule-disrupting agent, causes cognitive dysfunction and oxidative stress. The present study was designed to investigate the protective effects of quercetin against colchicine-induced memory impairment and oxidative damage in rats. An i.c.v. cannula was implanted in the lateral ventricle of male Wistar rats. Colchicine was administered at dose of 15 μg/rat. Morris water maze and plus-maze performance tests were used to assess memory tasks. Various biochemical parameters such as lipid peroxidation, reduced glutathione, nitrite level, acetylcholinesterase and proteins were also assessed. Central administration of colchicine (15 μg/rat) showed poor retention of memory. Chronic treatment with quercetin (20 and 40 mg/kg, p.o.) twice daily for a period of 25 days beginning 4 days prior to colchicine injection significantly improved the colchicine-induced cognitive impairment. Biochemical analysis revealed that i.c.v. colchicine injection significantly increased lipid peroxidation, nitrite and depleted reduced glutathione activity in the brains of rats. Chronic administration of quercetin significantly attenuated elevated lipid peroxidation and restored the depleted reduced glutathione, acetylcholinesterase activity and nitrite activity. The results of the present study clearly indicated that quercetin has a neuroprotective effect against colchicine-induced cognitive dysfunctions and oxidative damage. This article was published online on 3 November 2008. An error was subsequently identified. This notice is included in the online and print version to indicate that both have been corrected. [24 November 2008] Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.