Inhibition of neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunctions by carbenoxolone in the rotenone model of Parkinson's disease

Mol Neurobiol. 2015 Feb;51(1):209-19. doi: 10.1007/s12035-014-8769-7. Epub 2014 Jun 20.


α-Synuclein aggregation contributes to the Parkinson's disease (PD) pathology in multiple ways-the two most important being the activation of neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Our recent studies have shown the beneficial effects of a heat shock protein (HSP) inducer, carbenoxolone (Cbx), in reducing the aggregation of α-synuclein in a rotenone-based rat model of PD. The present study was designed to explore its ability to attenuate the α-synuclein-mediated alterations in neuroinflammation and mitochondrial functions. The PD model was generated by the rotenone administration (2 mg/kg b.wt.) to the male SD rats for a period of 5 weeks. Cbx (20 mg/kg b.wt.) co-administration was seen to reduce the activation of astrocytes incited by rotenone. Subsequently, the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β was inhibited. Further, the expression level of various inflammatory mediators such as COX-2, iNOS, and NF-κB was also reduced following Cbx co-treatment. Cbx was also shown to reduce the rotenone-induced decline in activity of mitochondrial complexes-I, -II, and -IV. Protection of mitochondrial functions and reduction in neuroinflammation lead to the lesser production of ROS and subsequently reduced oxidative stress. This was reflected by the increase in both the cytosolic and mitochondrial GSH levels as well as SOD activity during Cbx co-treatment. Thus, Cbx reduces the inflammatory response and improves the mitochondrial dysfunctions by reducing α-synuclein aggregation. In addition, it also reduces the associated oxidative stress. Due to its ability to target the multiple pathways implicated in the PD, Cbx can serve as a highly beneficial prophylactic agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Carbenoxolone / pharmacology*
  • Citrulline / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electron Transport / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mesencephalon / drug effects
  • Mesencephalon / metabolism
  • Mesencephalon / pathology
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / pathology*
  • Nervous System / drug effects
  • Nervous System / pathology*
  • Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / enzymology
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rotenone


  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Rotenone
  • Citrulline
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Glutathione
  • Carbenoxolone