Oxidative stress-induced neuroinflammation is the prominent feature of neurodegenerative disorders, and is characterized by a gradual decline of structure and function of neurons. Many biochemical events emerge thanks to the result of this neurodegeneration, and ultimately provoke neuroinflammation, activation of microglia, and oxidative stress, leading to neuronal death. This cascade not only explains the complexity of events taking place across different stages, but also depicts the need for more effective therapeutic agents. The present study was designed to investigate the neuroprotective effects of newly synthesized benzimidazole containing acetamide derivatives, 3a (2-(4-methoxyanilino)-N-[1-(4-methylbenzene-1-sulfonyl)-1H-benzimidazol-2-yl] acetamide) and 3b (2-(Dodecylamino)-N-[1-(4-methylbenzene-1-sulfonyl)-1H-benzimidazol-2-yl] acetamide) against ethanol-induced neurodegeneration in the rat model. Both derivatives were characterized spectroscopically by proton NMR (1
H-NMR) and carbon-13 NMR (13
C-NMR) and evaluated for neuroprotective potential using different pharmacological approaches. In vivo experiments demonstrated that ethanol triggered neurodegeneration characterized by impaired antioxidant enzymes and elevated oxidative stress. Furthermore, ethanol administration induced neuroinflammation, as demonstrated by elevated expression of tumor necrotic factor (TNF-α), nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), and ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule-1 (Iba-1), which was further validated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Treatment with 3a and 3b ameliorated the ethanol-induced oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and memory impairment. The affinity of synthesized derivatives towards various receptors involved in neurodegeneration was assessed through docking analysis. The versatile nature of benzimidazole nucleus and its affinity toward several receptors suggested that it could be a multistep targeting neuroprotectant. As repetitive clinical trials of neuroprotectants targeting a single step of the pathological process have failed previously, our results suggested that a neuroprotective strategy of acting at different stages may be more advantageous to intervene in the vicious cycles of neuroinflammation.
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