Hypothyroidism has been reported to be associated with cognitive decline. Considering the role of folic acid (FA) in cognitive performance, the present study was designed to investigate the effects of FA on hypothyroidism-induced cognitive impairment, oxidative damage, and alterations in acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in rat model of propylthiouracil (PTU)-induced hypothyroidism. In this study, PTU (0.05% in drinking water) and FA (5, 10, and 15 mg/kg, oral gavage) were administered for the rats during 7 weeks. Then, behavioral performance was tested using Morris water maze (MWM) and passive avoidance (PA) tasks. Finally, oxidative stress indicators and AChE activity were assayed in the brain tissues. The impairing effect of hypothyroidism on cognitive performance was markedly alleviated by FA especially at higher doses. In the MWM test, FA reduced escape latency and travelled distance, compared to the non-treated hypothyroid group. In the PA test, latency to enter dark chamber was significantly enhanced by FA compared to the non-treated hypothyroid group (p < 0.05-p < 0.001). Besides, FA attenuated AChE activity and malondialdehyde level but it increased activity of superoxide dismutase enzyme and total thiol content (p < 0.05-p < 0.001). In conclusion, our findings revealed that FA could improve learning and memory ability in hypothyroid rats. The observed protective effects may have been mediated through regulation of oxidative stress and AChE activity.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.