Continuous decline in cognitive performance accompanies the natural aging process in humans, and multiple studies in both humans and animal models have indicated that this decrease in cognitive function is associated with an age-related increase in oxidative stress. Treating aging mammals with exogenous free radical scavengers has generally been shown to attenuate age-related cognitive decline and oxidative stress. The present study assessed the effectiveness of the superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetics EUK-189 and EUK-207 on age-related decline in cognitive function and increase in oxidative stress. C57/BL6 mice received continuous treatment via osmotic minipumps with either EUK-189 or EUK-207 for 6 months starting at 17 months of age. At the end of treatment, markers for oxidative stress were evaluated by analyzing levels of free radicals, lipid peroxidation and oxidized nucleic acids in brain tissue. In addition, cognitive performance was assessed after 3 and 6 months of treatment with fear conditioning. Both EUK-189 and EUK-207 treatments resulted in significantly decreased lipid peroxidation, nucleic acid oxidation, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. In addition, the treatments also significantly improved age-related decline in performance in the fear-conditioning task. Our results thus confirm a critical role for oxidative stress in age-related decline in learning and memory and strongly suggest a potential usefulness for salen-manganese complexes in reversing age-related declines in cognitive function and oxidative load.
Copyright 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.