Plants-Derived Neuroprotective Agents: Cutting the Cycle of Cell Death through Multiple Mechanisms
Gallic acid (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid, GA) is a plant secondary metabolite, which shows antioxidant activity and is commonly found in many plant-based foods and beverages. Recent evidence suggests that oxidative stress contributes to the development of many human chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative pathologies, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cancer. GA and its derivative, methyl-3-O-methyl gallate (M3OMG), possess physiological and pharmacological activities closely related to their antioxidant properties. This paper describes the antidepressive-like effects of intraperitoneal administration of GA and two synthetic analogues, M3OMG and P3OMG (propyl-3-O-methylgallate), in balb/c mice with post-stroke depression, a secondary form of depression that could be due to oxidative stress occurring during cerebral ischemia and the following reperfusion. Moreover, this study determined the in vivo antioxidant activity of these compounds through the evaluation of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (Cat) activity, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels in mouse brain. GA and its synthetic analogues were found to be active (at doses of 25 and 50 mg/kg) in the modulation of depressive symptoms and the reduction of oxidative stress, restoring normal behavior and, at least in part, antioxidant endogenous defenses, with M3OMG being the most active of these compounds. SOD, TBARS, and GSH all showed strong correlation with behavioral parameters, suggesting that oxidative stress is tightly linked to the pathological processes involved in stroke and PSD. As a whole, the obtained results show that the administration of GA, M3OMG and P3OMG induce a reduction in depressive symptoms and oxidative stress.