Soybean isoflavones prevent atrazine-induced neurodegenerative damage by inducing autophagy

P Li, X Li, L Yao, Y Wu, B Li 

Department of Hygienic Toxicology, School of Public Health, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, PR China

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety

Atrazine (ATR) is a widely used herbicide with documented dopaminergic (DAergic) neurotoxicity that can lead to a Parkinson's disease (PD)-like motor syndrome. However, there have been few studies on preventative interventions. The aim of the present study was to investigate the neuroprotective efficacy of soybean isoflavones (SI) and associated molecular mechanisms in a rat model of ATR-induced DAergic toxicity. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (6 weeks old) received daily intraperitoneal injection of SI (10, 50, or 100 mg/kg) or vehicle followed 1 h later by oral gavage of ATR (50 mg/kg) for 45 consecutive days. Open field and grip-strength tests indicated no differences in motor function among treatment groups. Alternatively, histopathology revealed neuronal damage in the striatum of rats receiving vehicle plus ATR that was ameliorated by SI pretreatment. SI attenuate ATR-induced oxidative stress (indicated by MDA accumulation and GSH depletion) and inflammatory damage (as evidenced by TNF-alpha and IL-6 elevation) in the substantia nigra. ATR increased expression of the pro-apoptotic factor Bax and reduced expression levels of the DA synthesis enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-2 in the substantia nigra and striatum. All of these effects were reversed by SI pretreatment, suggesting that SI can inhibit ATR-induced apoptosis of DAergic neurons. ATR also inhibited autophagy in the substantial nigra as evidenced by LC3-II and Beclin-1 downregulation and increased expression of p62, whereas SI pretreatment reversed these effects, indicating autophagy induction. Furthermore, ATR increased the expression of mTOR and reduced the expression of phosphorylated S6 (p-S6) and BEX2 in the substantia nigra. Collectively, these findings suggest that SI can prevent ATR-mediated degeneration of DAergic neurons by inducing autophagy through an mTOR-dependent signaling pathway.

BIOSEB Instruments Used:
Grip strength test (BIO-GS3)

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