Glial activation and post-synaptic neurotoxicity: The key events in Streptozotocin (ICV) induced memory impairment in rats

Shivika Rai, Pradeep K. Kamat, Chandishwar Nath, Rakesh Shukla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


In the present study the role of glial activation and post synaptic toxicity in ICV Streptozotocin (STZ) induced memory impaired rats was explored. In experiment set up 1: Memory deficit was found in Morris water maze test on 14-16 days after STZ (ICV; 3 mg/Kg) administration. STZ causes increased expression of GFAP, CD11b and TNF-α indicating glial activation and neuroinflammation. STZ also significantly increased the level of ROS, nitrite, Ca2 + and reduced the mitochondrial activity in synaptosomal preparation illustrating free radical generation and excitotoxicity. Increased expression and activity of Caspase-3 was also observed in STZ treated rat which specify apoptotic cell death in hippocampus and cortex. STZ treatment showed decrease expression of post synaptic markers CaMKIIα and PSD-95, while, expression of pre synaptic markers (synaptophysin and SNAP-25) remains unaltered indicating selective post synaptic neurotoxicity. Oral treatment with Memantine (10 mg/kg) and Ibuprofen (50 mg/kg) daily for 13 days attenuated STZ induced glial activation, apoptotic cell death and post synaptic neurotoxicity in rat brain. Further, in experiment set up 2: where memory function was not affected i.e. 7-9 days after STZ treatment. The level of GFAP, CD11b, TNF-α, ROS and nitrite levels were increased. On the other hand, apoptotic marker, synaptic markers, mitochondrial activity and Ca2 + levels remained unaffected. Collective data indicates that neuroinflammatory process and oxidative stress occurs earlier to apoptosis and does not affect memory function. Present study clearly suggests that glial activation and post synaptic neurotoxicity are the key factors in STZ induced memory impairment and neuronal cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-117
Number of pages14
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Free radicals
  • Glial activation
  • Memory impairment
  • Streptozotocin
  • Synaptic markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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