Evaluation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, nerve growth factor and memory in adult rats survivors of the neonatal meningitis by Streptococcus agalactiae

Brain Res Bull. 2013 Mar;92:56-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2012.05.014. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS) is a major cause of severe morbidity and mortality in neonates and young infants, causing sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis. The survivors from this meningitis can suffer serious long-term neurological consequences, such as, seizures, hearing loss, learning and memory impairments. Neurotrophins, such as nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) control the neuronal cell death during the brain development and play an important role in neuronal differentiation, survival and growth of neurons. Neonate Wistar rats, received either 10μL of sterile saline as a placebo or an equivalent volume of GBS suspension at a concentration of 1×10(6)cfu/mL. Sixty days after induction of meningitis, the animals underwent behavioral tests, after were killed and the hippocampus and cortex were retired for analyze of the BDNF and NGF levels. In the open-field demonstrated no difference in motor, exploratory activity and habituation memory between the groups. The step-down inhibitory avoidance, when we evaluated the long-term memory at 24h after training session, we found that the meningitis group had a decrease in aversive memory when compared with the long-term memory test of the sham group. BDNF levels decreased in hippocampus and cortex; however the NGF levels decreased only in hippocampus. These findings suggest that the meningitis model could be a good research tool for the study of the biological mechanisms involved in the behavioral alterations secondary to GBS meningitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / microbiology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / microbiology
  • Meningitis / complications*
  • Meningitis / etiology
  • Meningitis / metabolism*
  • Meningitis / mortality*
  • Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reaction Time
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Nerve Growth Factor