Green tea protects against memory deficits related to maternal deprivation

Physiol Behav. 2017 Dec 1:182:121-127. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.10.010. Epub 2017 Oct 13.


Maternal deprivation (MD) in early life affects the development of the brain, causing cognitive losses in adulthood. Oxidative imbalance may be one of the factors that trigger these deficits. Therapies with antioxidant components, like green tea from Camellia sinensis (GT) has been used to treat or prevent memory deficits in a variety of conditions related to oxidative stress. Here we demonstrate that memory deficits caused by MD can be prevented by GT antioxidant activity in hippocampus. Pregnant female rats were used. Her puppies were submitted to MD and intake of GT. Recognition and aversive memory were evaluated, as well as hippocampal oxidative status. Data showed that MD prejudice short and long-term recognition and aversive memory and that GT protected memory. Hippocampal reactive oxygen species levels were increased in MD rats; this increase was avoided by GT supplementation. GSH was decreased on hippocampus MD rats. GT did not avoid GSH decrease, but promote the increase of total antioxidant capacity in MD rats' hippocampus. In conclusion, GT protects against memory deficits related to MD, and one of the implicated mechanism seems to be the antioxidant effects of GT.

Keywords: Antioxidants; Early-life stress; Inhibitory avoidance; Object recognition; Oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry
  • Camellia sinensis / metabolism*
  • Catechin / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Male
  • Maternal Deprivation*
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Pain Threshold / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Catechin
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Glutathione