Physiol. Res. 55: 205-212, 2006

Deprenyl and the Relationship Between Its Effects on Spatial Memory, Oxidant Stress and Hippocampal Neurons in Aged Male Rats


Departments of Histology and Embryology and 1Physiology, Dokuz Eylul University Medical School, Balcova, Izmir, Turkey

Received December 13, 2004
Accepted April 27, 2005
On-line May 24, 2005

Oxidative stress may play a major role in the aging process and associated cognitive decline. Therefore, antioxidant treatment may alleviate age-related impairment in spatial memory. Cognitive impairment could also involve the age-related morphological alterations of the hippocampal formation. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between the effects of deprenyl, an irreversible monoamine-oxidase B inhibitor, on spatial memory by oxidant stress and on the total number of neurons in the hippocampus CA1 region of aged male rats. In this study, 24-month-old male rats were used. Rats were divided into control and experimental groups which received an injection of deprenyl for 21 days. Learning experiments were performed for six days in the Morris water maze. Spatial learning was significantly better in deprenyl-treated rats compared to saline-treated rats. Deprenyl treatment elicited a significant decrease of lipid peroxidation in the prefrontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus regions and a significant increase of glutathione peroxidase activity in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. It was observed that deprenyl had no effect on superoxide dismutase activity. The total number of neurons in the hippocampus CA1 region was significantly higher in the deprenyl group than in the control group. In conclusion, we demonstrated that deprenyl increases spatial memory performance in aged male rats and this increase may be related to suppression of lipid peroxidation and alleviation of the age-related decrease of the number of neurons in the hippocampus. The results of such studies may be useful in pharmacological alleviation of the aging process.

Key words
Deprenyl Aging Spatial memory Lipid peroxidation Antioxidant enzymes Hippocampus


2006 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences