Virgin coconut oil ameliorates colchicine induced cognitive dysfunction- A preclinical study

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Pharmaceutical Sciences


Background: Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been identified as a potential cognitive strengthener associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) which are absorbed and easily metabolized by the liver to form ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are converted to acetyl Co-A in the brain which then enters the citric acid cycle to provide ATP and also serves as precursors of acetylcholine in neurons. Sunflower oil (SO) contains poly unsaturated fatty acids which has both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective actions. To compare the neuroprotective effects of VCO and SO on biochemical parameters involved in the cognitive dysfunction induced by colchicine through intracerebroventricular (i.c.v) route. To assess the role of polyphenols and MCFA present in VCO in preventing oxidative stress and its influence on in neuroprotection and memory enhancement. Methods: In the present study, we induced dementia through i.c.v injection of colchicine after giving the diet enriched VCO and SO in rats for 60 days. Rats were sacrificed on the 22nd day after the administration of colchicine. Behavioral parameters were assessed during the study period and biochemical estimations were performed using frontal cortex and hippocampus isolated from rat brain. Results: From the memory and learning tests by Morris water maze, VCO treated group performed better than SO treated rats. VCO reversed the antagonistic effects induced by colchicine by decreasing the acetylcholinesterase and malondialdehyde levels and increasing the levels of catalase and superoxide dismutase. SO only reduced malondialdehyde levels in cortex and hippocampus. Conclusion: The results demonstrated potential beneficiary effects of VCO in the cognitive dysfunction induced by colchicine by enhancing acetylcholine levels in the frontal cortex and hippocampus and also by reducing oxidative stress induced by physiological oxidants.

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