Ascorbic acid ameliorates seizures and brain damage in rats through inhibiting autophagy.
Brain Res. 2013 Oct 16 ;1535:115-23. Epub 2013 Aug 28. PMID: 23994218
Oxidative stress is a mechanism of cell death induced by seizures. Antioxidant compounds have neuroprotective effects due to their ability to inhibit free radical production. Autophagy is a process in which cytoplasmic components such as organelles and proteins are delivered to the lysosomal compartment for degradation, and plays an essential role in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. The activity of autophagy is enhanced during oxidative stress. The objectives of this work were first to study the inhibitory action of antioxidant ascorbic acid on behavioral changes and brain damage induced by high doses of pilocarpine, then to study the effect of ascorbic acid on oxidative stress (MDA and SOD were used to estimate oxidative stress) and activated autophagy (beclin 1 was used to estimate autophagy) induced by seizures, aiming to further clarify the mechanism of action of this antioxidant compound. In order to determinate neuroprotective effects, we studied the effects of ascorbic acid (500 mg/kg, i.p.) on the behavior and brain lesions observed after seizures induced by pilocarpine (340 mg/kg, i.p., P340 model) in rats. Ascorbic acid injections prior to pilocarpine suppressed behavioral seizure episodes by increasing the latency to the first myoclonic, clonic and tonic seizure and decreasing the percentage of incidence of clonic and tonic seizures as well as the mortality rate. These findings suggested that oxidative stress can be produced and autophagy is increased during brain damage induced by seizures. In the P340 model, ascorbic acid significantly decreased cerebral damage, reduced oxidative stress and inhibited autophagy by reducing de novo synthesis of beclin 1. Antioxidant compound can exert neuroprotective effects associated with inhibition of free radical production and autophagy. These results highlighted the promising therapeutic potential of ascorbic acid in treatment for seizures.