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Lipoic acid protects dopaminergic neurons in LPS-induced Parkinson’s disease model


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS), characterized by a loss of dopaminergic neurons, which is thought to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Recent findings suggest that neuroinflammation may be a pathogenic factor in the onset and progression of sporadic PD. Here we explore the potential therapeutic effect of lipoic acid (LA) on a lipolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory PD model. Our results for the first time showed that LA administration improved motor dysfunction, protected dopaminergic neurons loss, and decreased α-synuclein accumulation in the substantia nigra (SN) area of brain. Further, LA inhibited the activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and expression of pro-inflammatory molecules in M1 microglia. Taken together, these results suggest that LA may exert a profound neuroprotective effect and is thus a promising anti-neuroinflammatory and anti-oxidative agent for halting the progression of PD. Interventions aimed at either blocking microglia-derived inflammatory mediators or modulating the polarization of microglia may be potentially useful therapies that are worth further investigation.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81,272,163, 81,070,957 and 81,371,414), the Natural Science Foundation of Shanxi (2,012,021,034–2), the Department of Science and Technology, Shanxi Province of China (No. 2,013,081,058) and the Shanxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (No. 2011PY-1). We thank Katherine Regan, Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA, for editorial assistance.


None of the authors has any conflict of interest related to this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Bao-guo Xiao or Cun-gen Ma.

Additional information

Yan-Hua Li and Qing He contributed equally to this work.

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Li, Y., He, Q., Yu, J. et al. Lipoic acid protects dopaminergic neurons in LPS-induced Parkinson’s disease model. Metab Brain Dis 30, 1217–1226 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11011-015-9698-5

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  • LPS-induced PD model
  • Lipoic acid
  • Microglia