Okadaic acid (OKA) causes memory impairment and attenuates nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) along with oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in rats. Sulforaphane (dietary isothiocyanate compound), an activator of Nrf2 signaling, exhibits neuroprotective effects. However, the protective effect of sulforaphane in OKA-induced neurotoxicity remains uninvestigated. Therefore, in the present study, the role of sulforaphane in OKA-induced memory impairment in rats was explored. A significant increased Nrf2 expression in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex was observed in trained (Morris water maze) rats, and a significant decreased Nrf2 expression in memory-impaired (OKA, 200 ng icv) rats indicated its involvement in memory function. Sulforaphane administration (5 and 10 mg/kg, ip, days 1 and 2) ameliorates OKA-induced memory impairment in rats. The treatment also restored Nrf2 and its downstream antioxidant protein expression (GCLC, HO-1) and attenuated oxidative stress (ROS, nitrite, GSH), neuroinflammation (NF-κB, TNF-α, IL-10), and neuronal apoptosis in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of OKA-treated rats. Further, to determine whether modulation of Nrf2 signaling is responsible for the protective effect of sulforaphane, in vitro, Nrf2 siRNA and its downstream HO-1 inhibition studies were carried out in a rat astrocytoma cell line (C6). The protective effects of sulforaphane were abolished with Nrf2 siRNA and HO-1 inhibition in astrocytes. The results suggest that Nrf2-dependent activation of cellular antioxidant machinery results in sulforaphane-mediated protection against OKA-induced memory impairment in rats. Graphical Abstract ᅟ.
Keywords: Astrocytes; Memory impairment; Neuroinflammation; Nrf2; Okadaic acid; Sulforaphane.