Effects of clioquinol on memory impairment and the neurochemical modifications induced by scrapie infection in golden hamsters

Silvio R. Bareggi, Daniela Braida, Claudia Pollera, Gianpietro Bondiolotti, Elena Formentin, Maria Puricelli, Giorgio Poli, Wilma Ponti, Mariaelvina Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prion protein (PrP) is a glycoprotein expressed on the surface of neurons and glial cells. Its pathological isoform (PrPres) is protease resistant, and involved in the pathogenesis of a number of transmissible encephalopathies (TSEs). One common feature of neurodegenerative diseases, including TSEs, is oxidative stress, which may be responsible not only for the dysfunction or death of neuronal cells, but also cognitive deficits. Clioquinol (5-chloro-7-iodo-8-quinolinol) chelates zinc and copper, which are involved in the deposition of amyloid plaques and acts as an antioxidant; increased lipid peroxidation has also been demonstrated in the early phases of PrP propagation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of clioquinol on the changes in motor and cognitive behaviours induced by scrapie infection, as well as its effects on oxidative stress and the neurotransmitters known to be involved in motor and cognitive functions. The results show that clioquinol counteracts the massive memory deficit induced by scrapie infection. This effect is not paralleled by neurochemical changes because the levels of all of the biogenic amines and their metabolites were reduced despite clioquinol treatment. The main biochemical change induced by clioquinol was a marked reduction in lipid peroxidation at all time points. The antioxidant effect of clioquinol can reduce functional impairment and thus improve memory, but clioquinol does not reduce PrP deposition or synapse loss, as indicated by the unchanged Western blot, histopathological and histochemical findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 14 2009


  • Biogenic amine
  • Memory
  • Oxidative stress
  • Scrapie infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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