Previous evidence suggests that a high-salt (HS) diet may increase oxidative stress and contribute to the development of hypertension that is already present. Oxidative stress is thought to play a critical role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Lower dietary sodium intake putatively contributes to a lower rate of cognitive impairment; however, the specific effects of HS diet on cognitive function remain poorly understood. In this work, C57BL/6J mice were administered a normal-salt (NS) diet (0.4% NaCl) or a HS diet (7.0% NaCl) for 12 weeks, and cognitive ability and oxidative stress in the brain were measured. It was found that the HS diet significantly impaired retention of spatial memory. Additionally, superoxide anion production in the hippocampus was significantly increased in the HS diet mice compared with that in the NS mice. Interestingly, the antioxidant defense capacities for HS diet mice were markedly reduced in the hippocampus, but not in the cerebral cortex, compared with the NS mice. Taken together, these data demonstrate that HS diet directly impairs retention of spatial memory, which may be related to the increased oxidative stress observed in the hippocampus.
Keywords: Cognitive impairment; High-salt diet; Hippocampus; Oxidative stress.
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