Aucubin alleviates glial cell activation and preserves dopaminergic neurons in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced parkinsonian mice

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Aucubin (AUC) is a major bioactive ingredient in Eucommia ulmoides, Plantain asiatica, and Aucuba japonica, and has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and neuroprotective effects. We explore the neuroprotective effects of AUC in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced parkinsonian mice. Mice were administered MPTP (30 mg/kg) daily for 5 days, followed by treatment with AUC for 7 days. Measurement of dopamine levels was performed by high-performance liquid chromatography and tyrosine hydroxylase expression was assessed by western blot. Our results showed that AUC treatment improved mobility in the pole descent test and the traction test, and reduced the loss of dopaminergic neurons in MPTP-induced parkinsonian mice. AUC treatment rescued the decreased dopamine and tyrosine hydroxylase levels in the striatum of parkinsonian mice. Furthermore, AUC treatment reduced both microglia and astrocyte activation in the substantia nigra of parkinsonian mice. These findings suggest that AUC exerts neuroprotective effects, in part by reducing inflammation and preserving dopaminergic neurons. Possible protection mechanisms involved in MPTP-induced parkinsonian mice need to be clarified further.

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