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Docosahexaenoic acid provides protective mechanism in bilaterally MPTP-lesioned rat model of Parkinson's disease

Author(s): Gulay Hacioglu | Yasemin Seval-Celik | Gamze Tanriover | Ozlem Ozsoy | Esen Saka-Topcuoglu | Sevin Balkan | Aysel Agar

Journal: Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica
ISSN 0239-8508

Volume: 50;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease | MPTP | Docosahexaenoic acid | Dopaminergic neuron survival | Akt/p-Akt | Bcl-2 | Rat

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in the phospholipid fraction of the brain, is essential for normal cellular function. Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) often exhibit significant declines in PUFAs. The aim of this study was to observe the effects of DHA supplementation in an experimental rat model of PD created with ‘1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine’ (MPTP). Adult male Wistar rats were divided into four groups: (1) Control; (2) DHA-treated; (3) MPTP-induced; and (4) MPTP-induced + DHA-treated. Motor activity was investigated using the ‘vertical pole’ and ‘vertical wire’ tests. The dopaminergic lesion was determined by immunohistochemical analysis for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunopositive cells in substantia nigra (SN). Immunoreactivities of Bcl-2, Akt and phosphorylated-Akt (p-Akt) in SN were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. MPTP-induced animals exhibited decreased locomotor activity, motor coordination and loss of equilibrium. Diminished Parkinsonism symptoms and decreased dopaminergic neuron death were detected in the MPTP-induced + DHA-treated group compared to the MPTP-induced group. Moderate decreases in Akt staining were found in the MPTP-induced and MPTP-induced + DHA-treated groups compared to controls. p-Akt immunoreactivity decreased dramatically in the MPTP-induced group compared to the control; however, it was increased in the MPTP-induced + DHA-treated group compared to the MPTP-induced group. The staining intensity for Bcl-2 decreased prominently in the MPTP-induced group compared to the control, while it was stronger in the MPTP-induced + DHA-treated group compared to the MPTP-induced group. In conclusion, DHA significantly protects dopaminergic neurons against cell death in an experimental PD model. Akt/p-Akt and Bcl-2 pathways are related to this protective effect of DHA in experimental PD.
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