Introduction: Caffeine is an adrenergic antagonist that enhances neuronal activity. Psychological stress depresses cognitive function.
Aim: To investigate the effects of acute and chronic low dose caffeine on anxiety-like behavior and cognitive functions of acute or chronic psychological stressed rats.
Material-method: Acute or chronic caffeine (3mg/kg) was administered to male Sprague Dawley rats (200-250g, n=42) before acute (cat odor) and chronic variable psychological stress (restraint overcrowding stress, elevated plus maze, cat odor, forced swimming) induction. Anxiety and cognitive functions were evaluated by hole-board and object recognition tests. The brain glutathione and malondialdehyde assays, myeloperoxidase, nitric oxide (NO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), luminol and lucigenin activity and histological examination were done. ANOVA and Student's t-test were used for statistical analysis.
Results: The depressed cognitive function with chronic stress exposure and the increased anxiety-like behavior with both stress inductions were improved via both caffeine applications (p<0.05-0.001). Both caffeine pretreatments in chronic stressed rats, and chronic caffeine in acute stressed ones reduced the elevated myeloperoxidase activities (p<0.05-0.01). The increased malondialdehyde, lucigenin and NO levels with acute stress were inhibited with chronic caffeine (p<0.05-0.01), malondialdehyde and NO levels were declined by acute caffeine (p<0.001). Acute caffeine decreased SOD activity (p<0.01) and improved glutathione (p<0.01) and luminol levels (p<0.05). The induced histological damage with both stress exposures was ameliorated with chronic caffeine.
Conclusion: The increased anxiety-like behavior and depleted cognitive functions under stress conditions were improved with both acute and predominantly chronic caffeine pretreatments by decreasing oxidative damage parameters.
Keywords: Acute stress; Anxiety; Chronic stress; Oxidative damage; Working memory.
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