Carnosic acid protects non-alcoholic fatty liver-induced dopaminergic neuron injury in rats.
Metab Brain Dis. 2016 Dec 13. Epub 2016 Dec 13. PMID: 27957651
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been reported to induce cognitive impairments of hippocampus and may influence central nervous system. In the present study, we investigated whether carnosic acid (CA) ameliorates dopaminergic neuron injury in a rat model of NAFLD. In order to induce NAFLD, rats were fed with high-fat diet (HFD) for 10 weeks. We found that continued CA administration reduced lipid accumulation marked by decreases in alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, and an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level in the serum. H&E staining revealed that feeding CA reduced lipid droplets accumulation, and alleviated oxidative stress by increasing in superoxide dismutase (SOD) level and decreasing in malondialdehyde (MDA) level in the liver. In addition, by measuring several parameters of gait analysis, we demonstrated that CA treatment ameliorated behavioral impairments, as evidenced by decreased duration and maximum variation, accompanied by increased average speed and cadence. Furthermore, CA treated-animals displayed an increase in the contents of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacelic acid (DOPAC) and elevated the expressions of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) as well as the TH protein in the striatum. Together, these findings suggest that CA may be an effective agent in protecting rats from NAFLD-induced dopaminergic neuron injury.