Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element required for the development of human body and acts as an enzyme co-factor or activator for various reactions of metabolism. While essential in trace amounts, excessive Mn exposure can result in toxic accumulations in human brain tissue and resulting extrapyramidal symptoms called manganism similar to idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD). Quercetin (QCT) has been demonstrated to play an important role in altering the progression of neurodegenerative diseases by protecting against oxidative stress. This study aimed to investigate the protective effect of QCT on Mn-induced neurotoxicity and the underlying mechanism in SK-N-MC human neuroblastoma cell line and Sprague-Dawley (SD) male rat brain. The results showed that Mn treatment significantly decreased the cell viability of SK-N-MC cell and increased the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), which was attenuated by QCT pretreatment at 10 and 20 µg/mL. Compared to the Mn alone group, QCT pretreatment significantly attenuated Mn-induced oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. Meanwhile, QCT pretreatment markedly downregulated the NF-κB but upregulated the heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and Nrf2 proteins, compared to the Mn alone group. Our result showed the beneficial effect of QCT on hematological parameters against Mn in rat brain. QCT decrease reactive oxygen species (ROS) and protein carbonyl levels and increased Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity induced in Mn-treated rats. QCT administration caused a significant reduction in the Mn-induced neuroinflammation by inhibiting the expression of inflammatory markers such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6) cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). QCT lowered the Mn elevated levels of various downstream apoptotic markers, including Bax, cytochrome c
, cleaved caspase-3 and polymerase-1 (PARP-1), while QCT treatment upregulated anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins and prevented Mn-induced neurodegeneration. Furthermore, administration of QCT (25 and 50 mg/kg) to Mn-exposed rats showed improvement of histopathological alteration in comparison to Mn-treated rats. Moreover, administration of QCT to Mn-exposed rats showed significant reduction of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), Bax, activated caspase-3 and PARP-1 immunoreactivity. These results indicate that QCT could effectively inhibit Mn induced apoptosis and inflammatory response in SK-N-MC cells and SD rats, which may involve the activation of HO-1/Nrf2 and inhibition of NF-κB pathway.
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