The role of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) in the management of rotenone-induced Parkinson's disease in rats

Tissue Cell. 2024 Apr:87:102328. doi: 10.1016/j.tice.2024.102328. Epub 2024 Feb 15.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions. Alpha-synuclein deposition, Lewy bodies (LBs) formation, disruption of the autophagic machinery, apoptosis of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation are all pathologic hallmarks of PD. The leaves of the stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.) have a long history as an herbal cure with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, immunomodulatory, and neuroprotective properties. The current study aims for the first time to investigate the role of Nettle supplementation on Rotenone-induced PD. Rats were divided into five groups; a Saline control, Nettle control (100 mg/kg/day), Rotenone control (2 mg/kg/day), Rotenone + Nettle (50 mg /kg/day), and Rotenone + Nettle (100 mg/kg). After four weeks, the rats were examined for behavioral tests. The midbrains were investigated for histopathological alteration and immunohistochemical reaction for Tyrosine hydroxylase in the dopaminergic neurons, α-synuclein for Lewy bodies, caspase 3 for apoptotic neurons, LC3 and P62 for autophagic activity. Midbrain homogenates were examined for oxidative stress markers. mRNA expression of TNFα and Il6; inflammatory markers, Bcl-2, BAX and Caspase 3; apoptosis markers, were detected in midbrains. The results showed that Nettle caused recovery of midbrain dopaminergic neurons, by inhibiting apoptosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress and by restoring the autophagic machinery with clearance of α-synuclein deposits. We can conclude that Nettle is a potentially effective adjuvant in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Keywords: Alpha-synuclein; Autophagy; Parkinson`s disease; Stinging Nettle; Urtica dioica L..

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents* / pharmacology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rotenone / toxicity
  • Urtica dioica* / chemistry
  • Urtica dioica* / metabolism
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism
  • alpha-Synuclein / pharmacology


  • alpha-Synuclein
  • Rotenone
  • Caspase 3
  • Neuroprotective Agents