NEW YORK – Preclinical studies have shown the natural supplements vinpocetine and pomegranate, along with vitamin B complex and vitamin E, may have some effect individually in providing neuroprotection in Parkinson’s disease, but may have a more profound effect when used in combination, a researcher from Egypt reported at the International Conference on Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.
“We need to carry out a clinical trial to ensure that this multiple direct strategy can provide protection in different stages of neurodegenerative disease – during induction and even during the progression of the disease,” said Azza Ali, PhD, of Al-Azhar University, Cairo. She presented a poster of her research in an unspecified number of rats with manganese-induced Parkinsonian symptoms. The goal of the study was to compare the oral supplements to each other and to evaluate their impact in combinations. Excessive levels of manganese have been associated with movement disorders similar to Parkinson’s disease.
The research involved histologic studies to evaluate the impact of the supplements in the brains, and evaluated biochemical, neuroinflammatory, apoptotic, and oxidative markers. Behavioral tests evaluated cognition, memory, and motor skills.
Histological studies of manganese-induced brains exhibited nuclear pyknosis – clumping of chromosomes, excessive chromatic aberrations, and shrinkage of the nucleus – in the neurons of the cerebral cortex as well as in some areas of the hippocampus, although no alteration was seen in the subiculum, Dr. Ali reported. The stria showed multiple plaque formations with nuclear pyknosis and degeneration in some neurons.
All the studied treatments improved motor, memory, and cognitive decline induced by manganese, with pomegranate and vinpocetine yielding the best results, Dr. Ali said. However, a combination of treatments showed more pronounced improvements in some biochemical markers, as well as the neuroinflammatory, apoptotic, and oxidative markers. “They have a high antioxidant and antiapoptotic effect,” Dr. Ali said. Histopathologic studies confirmed those results, she noted.
Pomegranate (150 mg/kg) had a somewhat positive effect in the subiculum and fascia dentate areas of the hippocampus, although the stria appeared similar to manganese-induced brains. With vinpocetine (20 mg/kg), neurons in the cerebral cortex showed intact histological structure with some degeneration and nuclear pyknosis in the subiculum. There was no alteration in the neurons of the fascia dentate, hilus, and stria of the hippocampus.
Histologic studies of induced brains after treatment with vitamin-B complex (8.5 mg/kg) showed nuclear pyknosis and degeneration in the neurons of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, including the subiculum. The stria also showed multiple focal eosinophilic plaques with nuclear pyknosis and degeneration in some neurons. Vitamin E (100 mg/kg) resulted in intact neurons in the cerebral cortex but not in the hippocampus.
Histopathologic studies of brains that received combination treatment showed no alteration in the neurons of the cerebral cortex or in the subiculum and fascia dentate of the hippocampus, although a few neurons in the stria showed nuclear pyknosis and degeneration, Dr. Ali said.
She had no financial relationships to disclose.