RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Effect of sulfite on cognitive function in normal and sulfite oxidase deficient rats.

Sulfites, which are commonly used as preservatives, are continuously formed in the body during metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids. Sulfite is oxidized to sulfate ion by sulfite oxidase (SOX, EC. 1.8.3.1). The aim of this study was to investigate the possible toxic effects of sulfite on neurons by measuring active avoidance learning in normal and SOX-deficient rats. For this purpose, male albino rats used in this study were divided into eight groups such as control group (C), sulfite group (25 mg/kg) (S), vitamin E group (50 mg/kg) (E), sulfite (25 mg/kg)+vitamin E group (50 mg/kg) (SE), SOX-deficient group (D), deficient+vitamin E group (50 mg/kg) (DE), deficient+sulfite group (25 mg/kg) (DS) and deficient+sulfite (25 mg/kg)+vitamin E group (50 mg/kg) (DSE). Sulfite-induced impairment of active avoidance learning in SOX-deficient rats but not in normal rats. Sulfite had no effect on hippocampus TBARS levels in SOX normal groups. In SOX-deficient rats, TBARS levels were found to be significantly increased with sulfite exposure. Vitamin E reversed the observed detrimental effects of sulfite in the SOX-deficient rats on their hippocampal TBARS but not on their active avoidance learning. In conclusion, sulfite has neurotoxic effects in sulfite oxidase deficient rats, but this effect may not depend on oxidative stress.

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