Lithium and memantine improve spatial memory impairment and neuroinflammation induced by β-amyloid 1–42 oligomers in rats

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. The main hallmarks of this disease include progressive cognitive dysfunction and an accumulation of soluble oligomers of β-amyloid (Aβ) 1–42 peptide. In this research, we show the effects of lithium and memantine on spatial memory and neuroinflammation in an Aβ1–42 oligomers-induced animal model of dementia in rats. Aβ 1–42 oligomers were administered intrahippocampally to male wistar rats to induce dementia. Oral treatments with memantine (5 mg/kg), lithium (5 mg/kg), or both drugs in combination were performed over a period of 17 days. 14 days after the administration of the Aβ1–42 oligomers, the radial arm-maze task was performed. At the end of the test period, the animals were euthanized, and the frontal cortex and hippocampus were removed for use in our analysis. Our results showed that alone treatments with lithium or memantine ameliorate the spatial memory damage caused by Aβ1–42. The animals that received combined doses of lithium and memantine showed better cognitive performance in their latency time and total errors to find food when compared to the results from alone treatments. Moreover, in our study, lithium and/or memantine were able to reverse the decreases observed in the levels of interleukin (IL)-4 that were induced by Aβ1–42 in the frontal cortex. In the hippocampus, only memantine and the association of memantine and lithium were able to reverse this effect. Alone doses of lithium and memantine or the association of lithium and memantine caused reductions in the levels of IL-1β in the frontal cortex and hippocampus, and decreased the levels of TNF-α in the hippocampus. Taken together, these data suggest that lithium and memantine might be a potential therapy against cognitive impairment and neuroinflammation induced by Aβ1–42, and their association may be a promising alternative to be investigated in the treatment of AD-like dementia.

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