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J Physiol Biochem. 2011 Dec;67(4):605-12. doi: 10.1007/s13105-011-0107-1. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Betaine prevents ethanol-induced oxidative stress and reduces total homocysteine in the rat cerebellum.

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Division of Biochemistry, School of Veterinary Medicine, Lorestan University, P. O. Box 465, Khorram Abad, Iran.


Oxidative stress is a hypothesis for the association of reactive oxygen species with cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, we examined whether oral betaine can act as a preventive agent in ethanol-induced oxidative stress on the cerebellum of rats. Thirty-two adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four equal groups (control, ethanol, betaine, and betaine plus ethanol) with different dietary regimens and were followed up for 1 month. Total homocysteine (tHcy) of plasma and cerebellum homogenate was determined by an Axis(®) homocysteine EIA kit, and antioxidant enzyme (glutathione peroxidase (GPx), SOD, and CAT) activities of cerebellum homogenate were measured chemically by a spectrophotometer. Lipid peroxidation of cerebellum was shown by the measurement of thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS) via a spectrophotometer. Ethanol-induced hyperhomocysteinemia was manifested by an increase in the concentrations of tHcy in the plasma and cerebellum homogenates of the ethanol group, while ethanol-induced oxidative stress was indicated via an increase in lipid peroxidation marker (TBARS) in cerebellum homogenates of ethanol-treated rats. In contrast, betaine prevented hyperhomocysteinemia and oxidative stress in the betaine plus ethanol group as well as the betaine group. The results of the present investigation indicated that the protective effect of betaine is probably related to its ability to strengthen the cerebellum membrane cells by enhancement of antioxidant enzyme activity principally GPx, while the methyl donor effect of betaine to reduce hyperhomocysteinemia has been explained previously and confirmed in the present study.

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