Lycium barbarum polysaccharide improves dopamine metabolism and symptoms in an MPTP-induced model of Parkinson’s disease

BMC Med. 2022 Oct 28;20(1):412. doi: 10.1186/s12916-022-02621-9.


BACKGROUND: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in middle-aged and elderly populations, whereas there is no cure for PD so far. Novel animal models and medications await development to elucidate the aetiology of PD and attenuate the symptoms, respectively.

METHODS: A neurotoxin, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), was used in the current study to establish a PD pathologic model in silkworms. The time required to complete specific behaviours was recorded. Dopamine content was detected by ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC). The activity of insect tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) was determined using a double-antibody sandwich method. Oxidative stress was assessed by changes in antioxidant enzyme activity and the content of oxidative products.

RESULTS: MPTP-treated silkworms were characterized by impaired motor ability, reduced dopamine content, and elevated oxidative stress level. The expression of TH, a dopamine biosynthetic enzyme within dopaminergic neurons in the brain, was significantly reduced, indicating that dopaminergic neurons were damaged. Moreover, MPTP-induced motility impairment and reduced dopamine level in the silkworm PD model could be rescued after feeding a combination of levodopa (L-dopa [LD]) and carbidopa (CD). MPTP-induced oxidative damage was also alleviated, in ways consistent with other PD animal models. Interestingly, administration of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) improved the motor ability, dopamine level, and TH activity, and the oxidative damage was concomitantly reduced in the silkworm PD model.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a promising animal model for elucidating the pathogenesis of PD, as well as a relevant preliminary drug screening (e.g., LBP) and evaluation.

PMID:36303171 | PMC:PMC9615188 | DOI:10.1186/s12916-022-02621-9


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