Chronic treatment with taurine after intracerebroventricular streptozotocin injection improves cognitive dysfunction in rats by modulating oxidative stress, cholinergic functions and neuroinflammation

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The present study investigated the neuroprotective effects of taurine, an essential amino acid for growth and development of central nervous system. Intracerebroventricular streptozotocin (ICV-STZ) model of cognitive impairment was used in male Wistar rats (270 ± 20 g). Morris water maze, elevated plus maze and passive avoidance paradigm were used to assess cognitive performance. Taurine (40, 60 and 120 mg/kg) was administered orally for 28 days following STZ administration on day 1. Oxidative stress parameters (malondialdehyde, glutathione, nitric oxide and superoxide dismutase) and cholinesterases (acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase) activity were measured at end of the study in the cortex and hippocampus. Levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, expression of rho kinase-II (ROCK-II), glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) were studied in cortex and hippocampus. STZ caused significant cognitive impairment as compared to normal control. Chronic administration of taurine attenuated STZ-induced cognitive impairment. Increased oxidative stress and increased levels of TNF-α, IL-1β induced by STZ were also significantly attenuated by taurine. Taurine significantly (p < 0.05) decreased the STZ-induced increased expression of ROCK-II in cortex and hippocampus. Further, STZ-induced increased activity of cholinesterases was significantly (p < 0.001) mitigated by taurine. STZ decreased the expression of ChAT in hippocampus which was significantly (p < 0.05) reversed by taurine. However, GSK-3β expression was not altered by either STZ or taurine. The present study indicates that taurine exerts a neuroprotective role against STZ-induced cognitive impairment in rats. This effect is probably mediated by modulating oxidative stress, cholinesterases, inflammatory cytokines and expression of ROCK-II. Thus, this study suggests a potential of chronic taurine administration in cognitive impairment of Alzheimer's type.HighlightsChronic administration of taurine improved ICV-STZ induced cognitive deficits.Taurine mitigated STZ-induced increased oxidative stress and cholinesterase levels.Taurine reversed STZ-induced increase in the levels of TNF-α and IL-1β.Taurine ameliorated STZ-induced changes in expression of ROCK-II and ChAT.Taurine may be a potential adjuvant for treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

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