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ABSTRACT: Objectives: The main objective of this study is to clarify the protective effects of buckwheat hull extract (BWHE) against toxicant-induced spatial memory impairment and hippocampal neuron injury in rats. Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley (Jsl: SD) rats were fed chow containing 0.75% (w/w) BWHE during the experimental period. Two weeks after the start of the experiment, trimethyltin (TMT) (8 mg/kg bw) was administered orally to 6-week-old rats. After another two weeks, the rats were subjected to the Morris water maze task, which was used to determine spatial memory impairment. On the day after the Morris water maze task was performed, the right hemi-hippocampi were removed from the right half of the brain and weighed. Coronal sections of the left half of the brain were cut into 16-mum sections using a cryostat, and the number of neurons in each hippocampal region was evaluated by counting the surviving neurons using a light microscope. Results: The impairment of spatial memory and the decrease in the hippocampal weight were observed after the TMT administration. Prolonged supplementation of BWHE seemed to reverse these TMT-induced toxic effects, and also improved the spatial memory of rats. Conclusions: The present results suggest that the BWHE supplementation of foods enhanced the spatial memory of rats and may have protective effects against hippocampal neurodegeneration accompanied by spatial memory impairment.
Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi (Japanese Journal of Hygiene) 08/2008; 63(4):711-6.