Some cardiovascular symptoms in the early stage of Parkinson’s disease (PD) were related to degeneration of the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) catecholaminergic neurons. To date, little is known about the effects of hydrogen water on early stage of PD. Here, protective actions of hydrogen-saturated saline (HS) on rotenone-induced PD rats, as well as its underlying mechanisms were investigated. HS was used to treat PD rats at three general stages; early, medium and late, which were represented by rotenone induced rats for 0, 7 and 14 days. HS treatment significantly alleviated the cardiovascular and motor symptoms in rotenone-induced PD rats, improved the survival number of RVLM catecholaminergic neurons and nigral dopamine neurons only in early and medium stages of PD rats. Decreased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and alpha-synuclein (α-Syn), transformation of microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3)-I/II and degradation of sequestosome 1 (p62) were detected, as well as increased expression level of autophagy related protein 5 (ATG5) and B-cell lymphoma-2 interacting protein 1 (Beclin-1) in the RVLM and substantia nigra (SN) after HS treatment in early and medium stages of PD rats. In addition, phosphorylation levels of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt) and mammalian rapamycin target protein (mTOR) decreased after HS treatment in early and medium stages of PD rats. The results suggested that HS treatment exerted beneficial effects in early and medium stages before motor impairments emerged but not in the late stage of rotenone-induced PD rats. It exerted neuroprotection with RVLM catecholaminergic neurons and nigral dopamine neurons, mediated in part by decreasing levels of ROS and α-Syn through increasing autophagy machinery which were partly via inhibiting PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway.Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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