Therapeutic Effects of Geranium Oil in MPTP-Induced Parkinsonian Mouse Model

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2023 Dec;78(4):768-775. doi: 10.1007/s11130-023-01112-3. Epub 2023 Oct 11.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is an incurable neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor and non-motor disabilities resulting from neuronal cell death in the substantia nigra and striatum. Microglial activation and oxidative stress are two of the primary mechanisms driving that neuronal death. Here, we evaluated the effects of geranium oil on 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetra-hydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model for PD, on microglial activation, and oxidative stress. We demonstrate that oral treatment with geranium oil improved motor performance in this model. The therapeutic effects of geranium oil were observed as a significant increase in rotarod latency and distance among the mice treated with geranium oil, as compared to vehicle-treated MPTP mice. Geranium oil also prevented dopaminergic neuron death in the substantia nigra of the treated mice. These therapeutic effects can be partially attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of geranium oil, which were observed as attenuated accumulation of reactive oxygen species and inhibition of the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines from geranium oil-treated activated microglial cells. A repeated-dose oral toxicity study showed that geranium oil is not toxic to mice. In light of that finding and since geranium oil is defined by the FDA as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), we do not foresee any toxicity problems in the future and suggest that geranium oil may be a safe and effective oral treatment for PD. Since the MPTP model is only one of the preclinical models for PD, further studies are needed to confirm that geranium oil can be used to prevent or treat PD.

Keywords: Essential oil; Geranium oil; MPTP model; Neuroinflammation; Parkinson’s disease; Pelargonium graveolens.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Geranium*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / metabolism
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism