4-methylumbelliferone (4MU) has been suggested as a potential therapeutic agent for a wide range of neurological diseases. The current study aimed to evaluate the physiological changes and potential side effects after 10 weeks of 4MU treatment at a dose of 1.2 g/kg/day in healthy rats, and after 2 months of a wash-out period. Our findings revealed downregulation of hyaluronan (HA) and chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans throughout the body, significantly increased bile acids in blood samples in weeks 4 and 7 of the 4MU treatment, as well as increased blood sugars and proteins a few weeks after 4MU administration, and significantly increased interleukins IL10, IL12p70 and IFN gamma after 10 weeks of 4MU treatment. These effects, however, were reversed and no significant difference was observed between control treated and 4MU-treated animals after a 9-week wash-out period.
Keywords: 4-methylumbelliferone; chondroitin sulphates; hyaluronan; neuroplasticity.