Autistic-like behaviors are attenuated by agmatine consumption during pregnancy: Assessment of oxidative stress profile and histopathological changes in the prefrontal cortex and CA1 region of the hippocampus

Document Type : Original Article


1 Student Research Committee, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Department of Anatomical Sciences, Afzalipour School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Neuroscience Research Center, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran

4 Department of Physiology, Bam University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

5 Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Afzalipour School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Objective(s): Due to the crucial role of polyamines during fetal growth and development, we aimed to determine the effect of prenatal administration of agmatine, an endogenous active metabolite of arginine, and a nutritional supplement, on autistic-like behaviors, oxidative-anti-oxidative profile, and histopathological changes of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and CA1 area of the hippocampus in valproic acid (VPA) model of autism in male rats. 
Materials and Methods: VPA was injected intraperitoneally on embryonic days (ED) 12.5, and the pregnant rats were gavaged with agmatine between E6.5 to E18.5 (13 days), at doses of 0.001, 0.01, and 0.1 mg/kg. The autism-like behaviors and memory of male pups were analyzed via open-field, three-chamber, and novel object recognition tests. Serum oxidative stress and the histological changes in the PFC and CA1 were assessed at the end of the study. 
Results: The results suggest that prenatal agmatine reduced autistic-like behaviors by decreasing cell loss in CA1 and PFC. We observed no alterations in superoxide dismutase (SOD) level and total anti-oxidant capacity (TAC) between groups. VPA decreased catalase (CAT) activities, while agmatine decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) activity. 
Conclusion: Overall, this investigation suggests that agmatine may be a potential candidate for the early treatment and even prevention of appearance of autism symptoms. 


Main Subjects

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