The benefits and drawbacks of nicotine exposure in the cortex and hippocampus of old rats

Barros, Daniela Marti; Galhardi, Flora Gagliardi; Ferreira, Josencler Luis Ribas; Guterres, Leandra Borba; Dickel, Odila Eli; Monserrat, Laura Alicia Geracitano; Izquierdo, Ivan Antônio; Monserrat, José María


Nicotine is the main alkaloid of tobacco and possesses well-established stimulant effects. Previous reports show that nicotine at low doses improves memory functions, while high doses impair memory. This study aims to analyze the effects of nicotine (NIC) on inhibitory avoidance task and on DNA damage, reactive oxygen species (ROS) concentration, total antioxidant capacity, and lipid peroxidation in cortex and hippocampus of old rats. Male Wistar rats of 24–26 months old (620–700 g) were exposed i.p. to two doses (0.3 and 1 mg/kg) of NIC daily during 9 days. The treatment NIC 0.3 enhanced long-term memory ( p < 0.05), whereas NIC 1 improved both short and long-term memories ( p < 0.05). DNA damage was observed only in hippocampus ( p < 0.05) after NIC 1 exposure. A similar result was obtained for ROS: higher levels were detected at NIC 1 treatment in hippocampus ( p < 0.05). No alterations in the total antioxidant capacity were verified after NIC exposure (0.3 and 1 mg/kg) in both tissues ( p > 0.05). Finally, evidence of oxidative damage was observed in terms of lipid peroxides levels, being higher at NIC 1 in hippocampus ( p < 0.05). Overall the results indicate that deleterious effects paralleled the improved short and long-term memories at the highest NIC dose, since augmented DNA damage, ROS concentration and lipid peroxides levels were registered.

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  • ICB - Artigos publicados em periódicos