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Neuroscience. 1997 Nov;81(1):141-9.

Riluzole protects from motor deficits and striatal degeneration produced by systemic 3-nitropropionic acid intoxication in rats.

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Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, Unité de Recherche Associée 2210 Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Département de Recherche Médicale, Orsay, France.


The putative neuroprotective effect of riluzole was investigated in a rat model of progressive striatal neurodegeneration induced by prolonged treatment (three weeks, intraperitoneal) with 3-nitropropionic acid, an irreversible inhibitor of succinate dehydrogenase. Quantitative analysis of motor behaviour indicated a significant protective effect (60%) of riluzole (8 mg/kg/day) on 3-nitropropionic acid-induced motor deficits as assessed using two independent motor tests. Furthermore, quantitative analysis of 3-nitropropionic acid-induced lesions indicated a significant 84% decrease in the volume of striatal damage produced by 3-nitropropionic acid, the neuroprotective effect apparently being more pronounced in the posterior striatum and pallidum. In addition, it was checked that this neuroprotective effect of riluzole against systemic 3-nitropropionic acid did not result from a decreased bioavailability of the neurotoxin or a direct action of riluzole on 3-nitropropionic acid-induced inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase. We found that riluzole significantly decreased by 48% the size of striatal lesions produced by stereotaxic intrastriatal injection of malonate, a reversible succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor. Furthermore, the inhibition of cortical and striatal succinate dehydrogenase activity induced by systemic 3-nitropropionic acid was left unchanged by riluzole administration. The present results, consistent with a beneficial effect of riluzole in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, suggest that this compound may be useful in the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

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