Background: Trimethyltin (TMT) is a potent neurotoxin affecting various regions of the central nervous system, including the neocortex, the cerebellum, and the hippocampus. Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a membrane phospholipid, which is vital to brain cells. We analyzed the neuroprotective effects of soybean-derived phosphatidylserine (Bean-PS) on cognitive function, changes in the central cholinergic systems, and neural activity in TMT-induced memory deficits in a rat model. Methods: The rats were randomly divided into an untreated normal group, a TMT group (injected with TMT + vehicle), and a group injected with TMT + Bean-PS. The rats were treated with 10% hexane (TMT group) or TMT + Bean-PS (50 mg·kg−1
, oral administration (p.o.)) daily for 21 days, following a single injection of TMT (8.0 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.)). The cognitive function of Bean-PS was assessed using the Morris water maze (MWM) test and a passive avoidance task (PAT). The expression of acetylcholine transferase (ChAT) and acetylcholinesterase (AchE) in the hippocampus was assessed via immunohistochemistry. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan was used to measure the glucose uptake in the rat brain. Results: Treatment with Bean-PS enhanced memory function in the Morris water maze (MWM) test. Consistent with the behavioral results, treatment with Bean-PS diminished the damage to cholinergic cells in the hippocampus, in contrast to those of the TMT group. The TMT+Bean-PS group showed elevated glucose uptake in the frontal lobe of the rat brain. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that Bean-PS protects against TMT-induced learning and memory impairment. As such, Bean-PS represents a potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
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