Neuroprotective Effects of Thymoquinone by the Modulation of ER Stress and Apoptotic Pathway in In Vitro Model of Excitotoxicity.
Molecules. 2021 Mar 13 ;26(6). Epub 2021 Mar 13. PMID: 33805696
Experimental evidence indicates that the activation of ionotropic glutamate receptors plays an important role in neurological disorders' models such as epilepsy, cerebral ischemia and trauma. The glutamate receptor agonist kainic acid (KA) induces seizures and excitotoxic cell death in the CA3 region of the hippocampus. Thymoquinone (TQ) is the most important component of the essential oil obtained from black cumin (L.) seeds. It has many pharmacological actions including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects. TQ was used in an in vitro experimental model of primary cultures where excitotoxicity was induced. Briefly, rat organotypic hippocampal slices were exposed to 5µM KA for 24 h. Cell death in the CA3 subregions of slices was quantified by measuring propidium iodide fluorescence. The cross-talk between TQ, ER stress and apoptotic pathways was investigated by Western blot. In untreated slices TQ (10 µM) induced a significant increase on the PSD95 levels andit decreased the excitotoxic injury induced by KA. Additionally, TQ was able to ameliorate the KA-induced increase in unfolded proteins GRP78 and GRP94 expression. Finally, TQ was able to partially rescue the reduction of the KA-induced apoptotic pathway activation. Our results suggest that TQ modulates the processes leading to post-kainate neuronal death in the CA3 hippocampal area.