Folic acid prevented cognitive impairment in experimental pneumococcal meningitis

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2015 May;122(5):643-51. doi: 10.1007/s00702-014-1302-3. Epub 2014 Sep 19.


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common cause of bacterial meningitis, with a high mortality rate and neurological sequelae. In contrast, folic acid plays an important role in neuroplasticity and the preservation of neuronal integrity. In the present study, we evaluated the influence of folic acid on memory, oxidative damage, enzymatic defence, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in experimental pneumococcal meningitis. In animals that received folic acid at a dose of 10 or 50 mg, there was a reduction in both crossing and rearing during an open-field task compared with the training session, demonstrating habituation memory. During a step-down inhibitory avoidance task, there was a difference between the training and the test sessions, demonstrating aversive memory. In the hippocampus, BDNF expression decreased in the meningitis group; however, adjuvant treatment with 10 mg of folic acid increased BDNF expression, decreased lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation, nitrate/nitrite levels, and myeloperoxidase activity and increased superoxide dismutase activity. In frontal cortex adjuvant treatment with 10 mg of folic acid decreased lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation. There is substantial interest in the role of folic acid and related pathways in nervous system function and in folic acid's potential therapeutic effects. Here, adjuvant treatment with vitamin B9 prevented memory impairment in experimental pneumococcal meningitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Folic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Frontal Lobe / drug effects*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal / complications
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal / drug therapy*
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal / physiopathology
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Folic Acid