Neuroprotective Effects of Açaí ( Euterpe oleracea Mart.) against Rotenone In Vitro Exposure

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:8940850. doi: 10.1155/2016/8940850. Epub 2016 Oct 3.


Neuropsychiatric diseases, such as bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SCZ), have a very complex pathophysiology. Several current studies describe an association between psychiatric illness and mitochondrial dysfunction and consequent cellular modifications, including lipid, protein, and DNA damage, caused by cellular oxidative stress. Euterpe oleracea (açaí) is a powerful antioxidant fruit. Açaí is an Amazonian palm fruit primarily found in the lowlands of the Amazonian rainforest, particularly in the floodplains of the Amazon River. Given this proposed association, this study analyzed the potential in vitro neuropharmacological effect of Euterpe oleracea (açaí) extract in the modulation of mitochondrial function and oxidative metabolism. SH-SY5Y cells were treated with rotenone to induce mitochondrial complex I dysfunction and before and after we exposed the cells to açaí extract at 5 μg/mL. Treated and untreated cells were then analyzed by spectrophotometric, fluorescent, immunological, and molecular assays. The results showed that açaí extract can potentially increase protein amount and enzyme activity of mitochondrial complex I, mainly through NDUFS7 and NDUFS8 overexpression. Açaí extract was also able to decrease cell reactive oxygen species levels and lipid peroxidation. We thus suggest açaí as a potential candidate for drug development and a possible alternative BD therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electron Transport Complex I / metabolism
  • Euterpe / chemistry*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • NADH Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Rotenone / toxicity*
  • Uncoupling Agents / toxicity*


  • Antioxidants
  • NDUFS8 protein, human
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Uncoupling Agents
  • Rotenone
  • NADH Dehydrogenase
  • Electron Transport Complex I
  • NDUFS7 protein, human