Neuroprotective efficacy of Bacopa monnieri against rotenone induced oxidative stress and neurotoxicity in Drosophila melanogaster.
Neurotoxicology. 2009 Nov;30(6):977-85. Epub 2009 Sep 8. PMID: 19744517
Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Mysore-570020, India.
Bacopa monnieri, Linn. (Brahmi, BM), traditionally used to improve mental health in Indian ayurvedic system of medicine is known to possess various neuropharmacolgical properties. In the recent past, Drosophila has been widely used as a model to study various neurodegenerative diseases. Environmental toxins like rotenone, a specific inhibitor of complex I is employed to increase oxidative stress mediated neuropathology and sporadic Parkinson's disease. In this study, we examined the neuroprotective properties of BM against rotenone induced oxidative damage and neurotoxicity. Flies (Oregon K strain, adult males) exposed to a standardized BM powder for 7 days in the diet exhibited significant diminution in the levels of endogenous oxidative markers viz., malondialdehyde, hydroperoxide and protein carbonyl content. Further, BM offered complete protection against rotenone (500 microM) induced oxidative stress and markedly inhibited dopamine depletion (head region, 33%; body region, 44%) in flies. Flies exposed to rotenone+BM exhibited a lower incidence of mortality (40-66% protection) and performed better in a negative geotaxis assay (45-65%) both suggesting the neuroprotective potential of BM. Interestingly, BM also conferred significant resistance (43-54% protection) in a paraquat oxidative stress bioassay. The neuroprotective effects of BM were highly comparable to those of a commercially available Brahmi preparation. Although the precise mechanism/s underlying the neuroprotective efficacy of BM are not clear, it is hypothesized that it is wholly or in part related to its ability to mitigate rotenone induced oxidative stress. Further, our approach confirms the utility of the Drosophila model in screening putative neuroprotective phytomedicines prior to their use in mammalian models.