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Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 1516-4446

Abstract

BARICHELLO, Tatiana et al. Environmental enrichment restores cognitive deficits induced by experimental childhood meningitis. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2014, vol.36, n.4, pp.322-329.  Epub July 25, 2014. ISSN 1516-4446.  https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2014-1443.

Objective:

To evaluate the influence of environmental enrichment (EE) on memory, cytokines, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain of adult rats subjected to experimental pneumococcal meningitis during infancy.

Methods:

On postnatal day 11, the animals received either artificial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or Streptococcus pneumoniae suspension intracisternally at 1 × 106 CFU/mL and remained with their mothers until age 21 days. Animals were divided into the following groups: control, control + EE, meningitis, and meningitis + EE. EE began at 21 days and continued until 60 days of age (adulthood). EE consisted of a large cage with three floors, ramps, running wheels, and objects of different shapes and textures. At 60 days, animals were randomized and subjected to habituation to the open-field task and the step-down inhibitory avoidance task. After the tasks, the hippocampus and CSF were isolated for analysis.

Results:

The meningitis group showed no difference in performance between training and test sessions of the open-field task, suggesting habituation memory impairment; in the meningitis + EE group, performance was significantly different, showing preservation of habituation memory. In the step-down inhibitory avoidance task, there were no differences in behavior between training and test sessions in the meningitis group, showing aversive memory impairment; conversely, differences were observed in the meningitis + EE group, demonstrating aversive memory preservation. In the two meningitis groups, IL-4, IL-10, and BDNF levels were increased in the hippocampus, and BDNF levels in the CSF.

Conclusions:

The data presented suggest that EE, a non-invasive therapy, enables recovery from memory deficits caused by neonatal meningitis.

Keywords : Pneumococcal meningitis; environmental enrichment; cytokines; BDNF.

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