Daily subacute paraquat exposure decreases muscle function and substantia nigra dopamine level

M. A. Fahim, S. Shehab, A. Nemmar, A. Adem, S. Dhanasekaran, M. Y. Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The use of the herbicide paraquat (1,1'-dimethyl-4,4'-bipyridylium dichloride; PQ) which is widely used in agriculture is known to cause dopaminergic neurotoxicity. However, the mechanisms underlying this effect are not fully understood. This present study investigated the behavioral manifestations, motor coordination, and dopaminergic neurodegeneration following exposure to PQ. Male rats were injected with PQ (10 mg/kg i.p.) daily for three weeks. Rotarod systems were used for measuring locomotor activity and motor coordination. The effects of PQ on dorsiflexor, electrophysiologically-induced muscle contraction were studied. Dopamine concentrations in the ventral mesencephalon were measured by high performance liquid chromatography and the number of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta was estimated by tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry. PQ induced difficulty in movement and significant reduction in motor activity and twitch tension at the dorsiflexor skeletal muscle. The number of tyrosine hydroxylase positive neurons was significantly less in the substantia nigra pars compacta and nigral dopamine level was significantly reduced in PQ treated animals (20.4±3.4 pg/mg) when compared with control animals (55.0±2.4 pg/mg wet tissue). Daily treatment of PQ for three weeks induces selective dopaminergic neuronal loss in the substantia nigra and significant behavioral and peripheral motor deficit effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiological Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Dopamine
  • Locomotor activity
  • Paraquat
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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