The present study investigates the neuro-protective ability of nordihydroguaretic acid (NDGA) in the experimental paradigm of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and further decipher the nitric oxide pathway’s role in its proposed action. An intracerebroventricular infusion of 4 μl of 1 M PPA was given in the lateral ventricle’s anterior region to induce autism-like phenotype in male rats. Oral administration of NDGA (5, 10 & 15 mg/kg) was initiated from the 3 day lasting till the 28th day. L-NAME (50 mg/kg) and L-Arginine (800 mg/kg) were also given individually and combined to explore NDGA’s ability to act via the nitric oxide pathway. Behavior tests for sociability, stereotypy, anxiety, depression, novelty, repetitive and perseverative behavior were carried out between the 14th and 28th day. On the 29th day, animals were sacrificed, and mitochondrial complexes and oxidative stress parameters were evaluated. We also estimated the levels of neuroinflammatory and apoptotic markers such as TNF-α, IL-6, NF-κB, IFN-γ, HSP-70, and caspase-3. To assess the involvement of the nitric oxide pathway, levels of iNOS and homocysteine were estimated. Treatment with NDGA significantly restored behavioral, biochemical, neurological, and molecular deficits. Hence, NDGA can be used as a neurotherapeutic agent in ASD. Targeting nitric oxide pathway mediated oxidative & nitrosative stress responsible for behavioral, biochemical, and molecular alterations via modulating nitric oxide pathway. The evaluation of iNOS and homocysteine levels conclusively establishes the nitric oxide pathway’s role in causing behavioral, biochemical & molecular deficits and NDGA’s beneficial effect in restoring these alterations.© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
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