ALCAR promote adult hippocampal neurogenesis by regulating cell-survival and cell death-related signals in rat model of Parkinson's disease like-phenotypes
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the nigrostriatal pathway that leading to progressive motor and nonmotor symptoms. The formation of newborn neurons in the adult hippocampus is affected by many factors such as anxiety, depression and impairment in learning and memory that are commonly observed nonmotor symptoms in PD, indicating the role of adult neurogenesis in PD pathophysiology. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), regulate mitochondrial metabolism and has been reported to improve cognitive functions in different neurodegenerative disorders through an unknown mechanism. For the first time, we investigated the effect of ALCAR on adult neurogenesis in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) induced rat model of PD-like phenotypes and also explored the possible underlying mechanism of action. A single unilateral administration of 6-OHDA into the medial forebrain bundle reduced neural progenitor cell (NPC) proliferation, long-term survival and neuronal differentiation in the hippocampus. Interestingly, chronic treatment with ALCAR (100 mg/kg/day, i.p) potentially enhanced proliferation, long term survival and neuronal differentiation of NPCs in rat model of PD-like phenotypes. ALCAR treatment stimulates cell survival related signals (AKT and BCL-2) by inhibiting cell death related cues (GSK-3β and BAX) which might be responsible for a neuroprotective effect of ALCAR in rat model of PD-like phenotypes. We conclude that ALCAR exerts neuroprotective effects against 6-OHDA-induced impairment in hippocampal neurogenesis by regulating cell survival and cell death-related signals.