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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 723431, 11 pages
Research Article

Protective Effects of Aqueous Extract of Luehea divaricata against Behavioral and Oxidative Changes Induced by 3-Nitropropionic Acid in Rats

1Universidade Federal do Pampa (UNIPAMPA), Campus Uruguaiana, Uruguaiana, RS, Brazil
2Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia Molecular, Centro de Ciências Naturais e Exatas (CCNE), Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM), Santa Maria, RS, Brazil

Received 28 April 2015; Revised 14 August 2015; Accepted 15 September 2015

Academic Editor: Claudia Di Giacomo

Copyright © 2015 Aline Alves Courtes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease. Accordingly, 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) has been found to effectively produce HD-like symptoms. Luehea divaricata (L. divaricata), popularly known in Brazil as “açoita-cavalo,” may act as a neuroprotective agent in vitro and in vivo. We evaluated the hypothesis that the aqueous extract of L. divaricata could prevent behavioral and oxidative alterations induced by 3-NP in rats. 25 adult Wistar male rats were divided into 5 groups: (1) control, (2) L. divaricata (1000 mg/kg), (3) 3-NP, (4) L. divaricata (500 mg/kg) + 3-NP, and (5) L. divaricata (1000 mg/kg) + 3-NP. Groups 2, 4, and 5 received L. divaricata via intragastric gavage daily for 10 days. Animals in groups 3, 4, and 5 received 20 mg/kg 3-NP daily from days 8–10. At day 10, parameters of locomotor activity and biochemical evaluations were performed. Indeed, rats treated with 3-NP showed decreased locomotor activity compared to controls. Additionally, 3-NP increased levels of reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation and decreased ratio of GSH/GSSG and acetylcholinesterase activity in cortex and/or striatum. Our results suggest that rats pretreated with L. divaricata prior to 3-NP treatment showed neuroprotective effects when compared to 3-NP treated controls, which may be due to its antioxidant properties.