Neuroprotective potential of spermidine against rotenone induced Parkinson's disease in rats

Neurochem Int. 2018 Jun:116:104-111. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2018.02.010. Epub 2018 Mar 6.


Parkinson's disease is a leading hypokinetic disorder characterized by selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) region of mid-brain. Degeneration of dopaminergic neurons is considered to be due to oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, disturbed calcium homeostasis and glutamate excitotoxicity etc. Spermidine is a polyamine which counteracts age associated cell death by scavenging free radical formation, activates authophagic machinery by enhancing formation of autophagosome, and antagonizes NMDA receptor. In the current study we investigated the neuroprotective potential of spermidine against rotenone induced PD in rats. Rats were treated subcutaneously with rotenone 1.5 mg/kg daily for 28 days. Spermidine 5&10 mg/kg was administered orally 1 h prior to rotenone administration from 15 to 28. Rotenone caused significant reduction in motor functioning and elevated levels of oxidative stress markers and proinflammatory cytokines levels (IL-1β, IL6 and TNF-α). The neurochemical analysis revealed a significant decrease in serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and their metabolites accompanied by a significant loss of dopaminergic neurons in the SNpc following ROT injection. However, treatment with spermidine rescued DAergic neurons in SNpc and nerve terminals in the striatum following ROT insult. Spermidine treatment also attenuated oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and restored striatal neurochemistry. Results of our study suggest that spermidine has promising neuroprotective effect against degenerative changes in experimental PD, and the protective effects are mediated through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Keywords: Catecholamines; Neurodegeneration; Oxidative stress; Parkinson's disease; Rotenone; Spermidine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / drug effects
  • Neuroprotection / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Rotenone / pharmacology*
  • Spermidine / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Rotenone
  • Spermidine
  • Dopamine