Although the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease are not fully understood, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and environmental toxins may be involved. The current research was directed to investigate the protective role of two bioenergetic antioxidants, acetyl-L-carnitine and α-lipoic acid, in rotenone-parkinsonian rats. Ninety six male rats were divided into five groups. Group I is the vehicle-injected group, group II is the disease control group and was injected with six doses of rotenone (1.5 mg/kg/48 h, s.c.). Groups III, IV and V received rotenone in addition to acetyl-L-carnitine (100 mg/kg/day, p.o.), α-lipoic acid (50 mg/kg/day, p.o.) or their combination, respectively. Results showed that rotenone-treated rats exhibited bradykinesia and motor impairment in the open-field and square bridge tests. In addition, ATP level was decreased whereas lipid peroxides and protein carbonyls increased in the striata of rotenone-treated rats as compared to vehicle-treated rats. Treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine or α-lipoic acid improved the motor performance and reduced the level of lipid peroxides in rat brains as compared to rotenone group. Further, ATP production was enhanced along with acetyl-L-carnitine treatments (p≤0.05). Taken together, our study reinforces the view that acetyl-L-carnitine and α-lipoic acid are promising candidates for neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease.
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