Parkinson disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder with progressive degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons for which current treatments afford symptomatic relief with no-prevention of disease progression. Due to the neuroprotective property of the Nigella sativa bioactive compound thymoquinone (TQ), this study was undertaken to evaluate whether TQ could improve behavioral and cellular abnormalities and markers of oxidative stress in an experimental model of early PD in rat. Unilateral intrastriatal 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned rats were daily pretreated p.o. with TQ at doses of 5 and/or 10 mg/Kg three times at an interval of 24 h. After 1 week, apomorphine caused contralateral rotations, a reduction in the number of neurons on the left side of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC) was observed, malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitrite level in midbrain homogenate increased and activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) reduced in the 6-OHDA lesion group. TQ pretreatment significantly improved turning behavior, prevented loss of SNC neurons, and lowered level of MDA. These results suggest that TQ could afford neuroprotection against 6-OHDA neurotoxicity that is partly due to the attenuation of lipid peroxidation and this may provide benefits, along with other therapies, in neurodegenerative disorders including PD.
Keywords: 6-Hydroxydopamine; Oxidative stress; Parkinson’s disease; Thymoquinone.