2Department of Anatomical Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
3Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Department of Anatomical Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a rather common movement disorder as a result of the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons within the substantianigra. Current treatments for PD afford symptomatic relief with no prevention of disease progression. Due to the neuroprotective and anti-apoptotic potential of the isoquinoline alkaloid berberine (BBR), this study was conducted to assess whether BBR pretreatment could attenuate behavioral and neuronal derangement in 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced model of PD in the rat. Unilateral intrastriatal 6-OHDA-lesioned rats received BBR at doses of 25 and/or 50 mg/kg (i.p.) three times at an interval of 24 h, started 2 days before the surgery. After 1 week, apomorphine caused significant contralateral rotations and a significant reduction in the number of Nissl-stained and tyrosine-hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons on the left side of the substantianigra. BBR pretreatment at a dose of 50 mg/kg significantly reduced rotations and prevented loss of TH-positive neurons. These results indicate pre-lesion administration of BBR could protect against 6-OHDA toxicity and this may be of benefit besides other available therapies in PD.