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Valeriana officinalis attenuates the rotenone-induced toxicity in Drosophila melanogaster

In this study, we investigated the potential protective effects of Valeriana officinalis (V. officinalis) against the toxicity induced by rotenone in Drosophila melanogaster (D. melanogaster). Adult wild-type flies were concomitantly exposed to rotenone (500 mM) and V. officinalis aqueous extract (10 mg/mL) in the food during 7 days. Rotenone-fed flies had a worse performance in the negative geotaxis assay (i.e. climbing capability) and open-field test (i.e. mobility time) as well as a higher incidence of mortality when compared to control group. V. officinalis treatment offered protection against these detrimental effects of rotenone. In contrast, the decreased number of crossings observed in the flies exposed to rotenone was not modified by V. officinalis. Rotenone toxicity was also associated with a marked decrease on the totalthiol content in the homogenates and cell viability of flies, which were reduced by V. officinalis treatment. Indeed, rotenone exposure caused a significant increase in the mRNA expression of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) and also in the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) gene. The expression of SOD and CAT mRNAs was normalized by V. officinalis treatment. Our results suggest that V. officinalis extract was effective in reducing the toxicity induced by rotenone in D. melanogaster as well as confirm the utility of this model to investigate potential therapeutic strategies on movement disorders, including Parkinson disease (PD).

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