Oxidative stress induced NMDA receptor alteration leads to spatial memory deficits in temporal lobe epilepsy: ameliorative effects of Withania somnifera and Withanolide A

Neurochem Res. 2012 Sep;37(9):1915-27. doi: 10.1007/s11064-012-0810-5. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


In the present study we investigate the effect of Withania somnifera (WS) root extract and Withanolide A (WA) in restoring spatial memory deficit by inhibiting oxidative stress induced alteration in glutamergic neurotransmission. We demonstrate significant cellular loss in hippocampus of epileptic rats, visualized through decreased TOPRO stained neurons. Impaired spatial memory was observed in epileptic rats after Radial arm maze test. Treatment with WS and WA has resulted in increased number of TOPRO stained neurons. Enhanced performance of epileptic rats treated with WS and WA was observed in Radial arm maze test. The antioxidant activity of WS and WA was studied using superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Catalase (CAT) assays in the hippocampus of experimental rats. The SOD activity and CAT activity decreased significantly in epileptic group, treatment with WS and WA significantly reversed the enzymatic activities to near control. Real time gene expression studies of SOD and GPx showed significant up-regulation in epileptic group compared to control. Treatment with WS and WA showed significant reversal to near control. Lipid peroxidation quantified using TBARS assay, significantly increased in epileptic rats. Treatment with WS and WA showed significant reversal to near control. NMDA receptor expression decreased in epileptic rats. The treatment with WS and WA resulted in physiological expression of NMDA receptors. This data suggests that oxidative stress effects membrane constitution resulting in decreased NMDA receptor density leading to impaired spatial memory. Treatment with WS and WA has ameliorated spatial memory deficits by enhancing antioxidant system and restoring altered NMDA receptor density.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / metabolism
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / psychology*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 1 / metabolism
  • Hemostasis / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Space Perception / drug effects*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Withania / chemistry*
  • Withanolides / pharmacology*


  • 3-rhamnopyranosyl(1-4)-glucopyranosyl-12-diacetoxy-20-hydroxywitha-5,24-dienolide
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 1
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Slc1a3 protein, rat
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Withanolides
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase