Chronic Pravastatin but Not Atorvastatin Treatment Impairs Cognitive Function in Two Rodent Models of Learning and Memory

Sarah A. Stuart, James D. Robertson, Neil V. Marrion, Emma S. J. Robinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Statins are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs and are used to reduce blood cholesterol. Recent evidence suggests that, in some patients, they may adversely influence cognitive function including causing memory impairments. These clinical observations have led to statin prescriptions now including a warning about possible cognitive impairments. In order to better understand the relationship between statin treatment and cognitive function, studies in animals are needed. The present study investigated the effects of chronic treatment with two statins, pravastatin and atorvastatin, in two rodent models of learning and memory. Adult rats were treated once daily with pravastatin (10mg/kg, orally) or atorvostatin (10mg/kg, orally) for 18 days. Before, during and after treatment, animals were tested in a simple discrimination and reversal learning task. On the last day of treatment and following one week withdrawal, animals were also tested in a task of novel object discrimination. Pravastatin tended to impair learning over the last few days of treatment and this effect was fully reversed once treatment ceased. In the novel object discrimination task, pravastatin significantly impaired object recognition memory. No effects were observed for atorvostatin in either task. These data suggest that chronic treatment with pravastatin impairs working and recognition memory in rodents. The reversibility of the effects on cessation of treatment is similar to what has been observed in patients, but the lack of effect of atorvostatin suggests that lipophilicity may not be a major factor influencing statin-induced cognitive impairments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number75467
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2013

Keywords

  • TRAUMATIC BRAIN-INJURY
  • A REDUCTASE INHIBITORS
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • CHOLESTEROL-METABOLISM
  • HIPPOCAMPAL-LESIONS
  • OBJECT-RECOGNITION
  • PERIRHINAL CORTEX
  • AMYLOID PEPTIDE
  • SPATIAL MEMORY
  • SIMVASTATIN

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