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KANDIL, E. S. R. A. A. A., R. H. Sayed, L. A. Ahmed, M. A. Abd El Fattah, and B. M. El-Sayeh, "Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha and nuclear-related receptor 1 as targets for neuroprotection by albendazole in a rat rotenone model of Parkinson's disease.", Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology, vol. 46, issue 12, pp. 1141-1150, 2019. Abstract

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) and nuclear receptor related-1 (Nurr1) play pivotal roles in the development and survival of dopaminergic neurons, and deficiencies in these genes may be involved in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathogenesis. Recently, anthelminthic benzimidazoles were shown to promote HIF-1α transcription in vitro and were proposed to activate Nurr1 via their benzimidazole group. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the neuroprotective effects of albendazole (ABZ), an anthelminthic benzimidazole, in a rotenone model of Parkinson's disease (PD). Rotenone (1.5 mg/kg) was subcutaneously injected into rats every other day for a period of 21 days, resulting in the development of the essential features of PD. In addition to rotenone, ABZ (10 mg/kg) was administered orally starting from the 11th day. Treatment of rats with ABZ markedly mitigated rotenone-induced histological alterations in substantia nigra (SN), restored striatal dopamine (DA) level and motor functions and decreased the expression of α-synuclein (a disease marker protein). ABZ also enhanced expression of Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) in the SN along with its downstream target, vascular endothelial growth factor, promoting neuronal survival. Similarly, ABZ augmented nuclear receptor related-1 (Nurr1) expression in the SN and increased transcriptional activation of Nurr1-controlled genes, which are essential for regulation of DA synthesis; additionally, expression of neurotoxic proinflammatory cytokines that induce neuronal death was suppressed. In conclusion, the present study suggests that ABZ exerts a neuroprotective effect in a rotenone-induced PD model associated with HIF-1α and Nurr1 activation and thus may be a viable candidate for treating PD.