Vitamin C attenuates memory loss induced by post-traumatic stress like behavior in a rat model

Behav Brain Res. 2020 Feb 3:379:112350. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112350. Epub 2019 Nov 8.


Oxidative stress is associated with neuronal damage in many brain regions including the hippocampus; an area in the brain responsible of memory processing. Oxidative stress is also linked with many psychiatric conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is triggered by traumatic experience and many PTSD patients show signs of memory impairment. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Herein, we hypothesized that memory impairment observed during PTSD could be a result of oxidative stress in hippocampal tissues and that prophylactic vitamin C administration may reduce oxidative stress in the hippocampus and prevent memory impairment. The above hypothesis was tested in a rat model where PTSD-like behavior was induced through single prolonged stress (SPS). Short and long-term memory was tested using a radial arm water maze (RAWM). We found that SPS induced a significant increase in the oxidized glutathione levels of the hippocampus. This reduction was accompanied with a significant decrease in glutathione peroxidase and catalase enzyme activity, and a significant increase in lipid peroxidation. Intriguingly, vitamin C administration successfully attenuated memory impairment and all of the changes observed in oxidative stress markers. Our findings demonstrate that vitamin C could prevent oxidative stress and memory impairment induced by SPS model of PTSD-like behavior in rat.

Keywords: Maze; Memory; Oxidative stress; PTSD; Single prolonged stress; Vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism
  • Memory, Long-Term / drug effects
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Ascorbic Acid