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The neuroprotective effect of Withania somnifera root extract in MPTP-intoxicated mice: An analysis of behavioral and biochemical varibles


We studied the influence of Withania somnifera (Ws) root extract (100 mg/kg body weight) on parkinsonism induced by 1-methyl 4-phenyl 1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP; i.p, 20 mg/kg body weight for 4 days), via the analysis of behavioral features and the oxidant-antioxidant imbalance in the midbrain of mice. A significant alteration in behavior, increased levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS), and increased activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were noticed in this region of brain in MPTP-treated mice. Oral treatment with the root extract resulted in a significant improvement in the mice’s behavoiur and antioxidant status, along with a significant reduction in the level of lipid peroxidation. The results indicated that at least part of the chronic stress-induced pathology may be due to oxidative stress, which is mitigated by Ws. Further studies are needed to assess the precise mechanism to support the clinical use of the plant as an antiparkinsonic drug.





1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6 tetrahydro-pyridine


Parkinson’s disease


superoxide dismutase


thiobarbituric acid reactive substances


Withania somnifera root extract


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Correspondence to Srinivasagam Raja Sankar.

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Sankar, S.R., Manivasagam, T., Krishnamurti, A. et al. The neuroprotective effect of Withania somnifera root extract in MPTP-intoxicated mice: An analysis of behavioral and biochemical varibles. Cell Mol Biol Lett 12, 473–481 (2007).

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Key Words

  • MPTP
  • Withania somnifera
  • Antioxidants
  • Behaviour
  • Midbrain