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Neurochem Res. 2010 Feb;35(2):227-38. doi: 10.1007/s11064-009-0046-1. Epub 2009 Aug 23.

The effects of polyphenols on survival and locomotor activity in Drosophila melanogaster exposed to iron and paraquat.

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School of Medicine, Medical Research Institute, Neuroscience Research Group, University of Antioquia (UdeA), Calle 62 # 52-59, Building 1, Room 412, Medellin, Colombia.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common progressive neurodegenerative disorder, for which at present no causal treatment is available. On the understanding that the causes of PD are mainly oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, antioxidants and other drugs are expected to be used. In the present study, we demonstrated for the first time that pure polyphenols such as gallic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, propyl gallate, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, and epigallocatechin gallate protect, rescue and, most importantly, restore the impaired movement activity (i.e., climbing capability) induced by paraquat in Drosophila melanogaster, a valid model of PD. We also showed for the first time that high concentrations of iron (e.g. 15 mM FeSO(4)) are able to diminish fly survival and movement to a similar extent as (20 mM) paraquat treatment. Moreover, paraquat and iron synergistically affect both survival and locomotor function. Remarkably, propyl gallate and epigallocatechin gallate protected and maintained movement abilities in flies co-treated with paraquat and iron. Our findings indicate that pure polyphenols might be potent neuroprotective agents for the treatment of PD against stressful stimuli.

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