Monthly Archives: November 2021

Plant product suggests promise in mouse version of parkinsons disease

An extract from three plant species reduced signs of motor disturbances in rodent models of Parkinson’s disease and lessened the associated molecular defects of the cellular recycling process known as autophagy, a study showed.

Further research is needed to confirm that the active component of the plant extract could serve as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s. But such a therapy might be able to restore autophagy-related deficiencies found in patients with the neurodegenerative disease, the scientists said.

The study, “Extract of Polygala tenuifolia, Angelica tenuissima, and Dimocarpus longan Reduces Behavioral Defect and Enhances Autophagy in Experimental Models of Parkinson’s Disease,” was published in the journal NeuroMolecular Medicine.

A common theme underlying various proposed causes of Parkinson’s disease is autophagy — a process to degrade, recycle, and eliminate unused proteins and other cellular components.

Some mutations linked to familial Parkinson’s are found in genes related to autophagy. These alterations cause an accumulation of toxic proteins that leads to cell damage and death.

A water-based extract called WIN-1001X, found in three plant species — Polygala tenuifolia, Angelica tenuissima, and Dimocarpus longan — has been shown to have protective properties by modulating autophagy in brain cells from mice with chemically induced Parkinson’s.

Further research identified a specific component in the extract, called onjisaponin B, that was responsible for activating autophagy processes.

Based on these findings, investigators centered at the Natural Product Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea, examined the impact of an optimized extract of WIN-1001X in Parkinson’s-induced rodent models.

The optimized plant extract was prepared with a 20% ethanol solvent to increase fat-based components.

To induce Parkinson’s-like symptoms, the mice were injected with a compound called MPTP, which led to neurotoxicity in cells that produce dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical messenger deficient in Parkinson’s patients that is used by nerve cells to communicate and control body movements.

The researchers used a rotating rod test to measure motor coordination in the mice. The animals injected with MPTP showed significantly less time on the rod compared with control mice. Induced mice then treated with WIN-1001X showed a significant recovery compared with MPTP mice.