Comparative Study of Some Natural and Artificial Food Coloring Agents on Hyperactivity, Learning and Memory Performance in Weanling Rats

Suzan F. El-Sisi, Salwa kamal El-nabarawy, Omyma k. Radwan, Areeg M. Abdel-razek


Color additives are used in a wide variety of foods, Food azo-colours tartrazine (Tar) is one of the most widely used artificial foods, drugs and cosmetic yellow dyes, its E number is E102 while Curcumin (Cur, an active ingredient of turmeric) is brightly yellow colored which routinely used as spice, food preservative and coloring material in different parts of the world; its E number is E100. The present study aimed to Compare between artificial yellow coloring additive Tar and natural one Cur (has the same color) on hyperactivity, learning and memory and the possibility of using Cur instead of Tar or at least in combined with Tar to protect against Tar behavioral disorder in weanling rats. To characterized biochemical and behavioral parameters the study was assessed the effect of Tar (1%, 3%) alone or in combination with Cur (200 mg/kg/b.wt) for 8 weeks on Open field test to assess the potential hyperactivity and Morris water maze test to assess learning and memory. Furthermore, biomarkers of oxidative stress malondialdhyde (MDA, end product of lipid peroxides), nitric oxides (NO, as nitrite to nitrate ratio), GSH (reduced glutathione), and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) in addition to some neurotransmitter, monoamines [dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE) and serotonin (5-HT)] were also measured in three different brain areas (frontal cortex, Striatum and hippocampus).

These brain regions are important because they are involved in important behavioral functions, such as emotion, motivation, learning and memory. The results indicated that Tar extract significantly enhanced active behavioral response. Tar-treated rats showed hyperactivity in open field test presented by increasing horizontal locomotion as well as depletion in learning and memory by increased the escape latency in Morris water maze test and decreased the retention latency in probe test. Tar alone disturb oxidative stress marker by causing significant increase in serum NO and serum and tissue MDA and GSSG while it caused significant decrease in serum and tissue GSH as well as it inhibited neurotransmitters releases especially in striatum and hippocampus area. While combined treatment of Cur significantly ameliorated all the behavioral and biochemical alterations in serum and different brain regions of Tar-treated weanling rats. This study provides scientific evidence that there is a relationship between Tar and inflection of hyperactivity and depletion in learning and memory in weanling rats while coadministration of Cur attenuates the potential hazards of Tar.


color additives; Tartrazine; Curcumin; hyperactivity; learning and memory; oxidative stress; monoamines.

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