Neurochemical, neurobehavioral and histochemical effects of therapeutic dose of l-dopa on striatal neurons in rats: Protective effect of virgin coconut oil

Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Oct;130:110473. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2020.110473. Epub 2020 Jul 21.


Despite the fact that levodopa has proven its effectiveness in treating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD), increasing concerns have emerged about its possible long-term toxic effects on dopamine (DA) neurons. The study investigated the possible ameliorative effect of virgin coconut oil against l-dopa- induced neurotoxicity in adult rats. A total number of 40 rats were divided into four groups. Briefly, the first served as control, the second was orally administered virgin coconut oil (1.42 mL/kg), the third group was administered a single daily dose of l-dopa/carbidopa (100/10 mg/kg/day, p.o) and the fourth group pre-treated with virgin coconut oil then administered a single daily dose of l-dopa/carbidopa. The different treatments were extended for 30 days. l-dopa treated group exhibited aggressive behavior and behavioral abnormalities in open field test compared to control group. In addition, l-dopa treatment caused significant increase in the levels of striatal dopamine and norepinephrine and their metabolites with concomitant decrease of serotonin and its metabolite. Moreover, l-dopa treatment increased histamine and GABA levels. In addition, l-dopa treatment induced oxidative stress and energy crisis. The histological and immunohistochemical studies showed that l-dopa caused a remarkable neurodegeneration and increased glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoexpression in the striatal area. Virgin coconut oil co-treatment significantly minimized the harmful effects of l-dopa. In conclusion, the present study revealed that virgin coconut oil provided a notable protection against l-dopa's untoward effects.

Keywords: Oxidative stress; Parkinson; Virgin coconut oil; l-dopa; striatum.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Carbidopa / toxicity
  • Coconut Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology
  • Levodopa / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Levodopa
  • Carbidopa
  • Coconut Oil