Oxidative stress (OS) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a modulatory role in synaptic plasticity and signaling pathways. Mitochondria (MT), a major source of ROS because of their involvement in energy metabolism, are important for brain function. MT-generated ROS are proposed to be responsible for a significant proportion of OS and are associated with developmental abnormalities and aspects of cellular aging. The role of ROS and MT function in cognition of healthy individuals is relatively understudied. In this study, we characterized behavioral and cognitive performance of 5- to 6-month-old mice over-expressing mitochondrial catalase (MCAT). MCAT mice showed enhancements in hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory in the water maze and contextual fear conditioning, and reduced measures of anxiety in the elevated zero maze. Catalase activity was elevated in MCAT mice in all brain regions examined. Measures of oxidative stress (glutathione, protein carbonyl content, lipid peroxidation, and 8-hydroxyguanine) did not significantly differ between the groups. The lack of differences in these markers of oxidative stress suggests that the differences observed in this study may be due to altered redox signaling. Catalase over-expression might be sufficient to enhance cognition and reduce measures of anxiety even in the absence of alteration in levels of OS. The role of reactive oxygen species and mitochondria in cognition of healthy individuals is relatively understudied. Adult mice over-expressing mitochondrial catalase (MCAT) show reduced measures of anxiety in the elevated zero maze (left) and enhanced hippocampus-dependent memory in the contextual fear conditioning test (right an water maze). Measures of oxidative stress did not differ between the groups. Thus, catalase over-expression might be sufficient to cause these effects.
- fear conditioning
- water maze
- zero maze
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience