Biochemical and behavioral evidences for neuromodulatory properties of Selaginella delicatula against 3-nitropropionic acid model in mice

Girish Chandran, Muralidhara Muralidhara


Aim: Experimental evidence on the neuromodulatory properties of the Indian resurrection herb ‘Selaginella’ (a pteridophyte) is limited. Here, we examined the hypothesis that extract of Selaginella delicatula can render protection against 3-nitropropionic acid (3NP)-induced oxidative impairments and neurotoxicity.

Materials and methods: Mice provided with supplements S. delicatula aqueous extracts (SDAE) orally (400 mg/kg bw/d, 15d) were challenged with 3NP (50 mg/kg bw/d, i.p. on the last 5 days).

Results: Exposure to 3NP induced significant motor deficits, as evidenced by the reduced stride length, increased narrow beam latency and overt behavioral deficits in the open field apparatus. Interestingly, there was a significant delay in the onset and the intensity of neurobehavioral deficits among SDAE prophylactic mice. Biochemical investigation of striatum revealed that SDAE prophylaxis per se modulated the striatal redox status but also attenuated the 3NP-induced redox imbalance, perturbations in the activities of antioxidant enzymes and mitochondrial complex II activity. More importantly, the cholinergic function and dopamine levels were nearly normal among SDAE-mice.  

Conclusion: Collectively, these data suggest that neuroprotection rendered by SDAE prophylaxis may be primarily attributed to the restoration effect on antioxidant defence and mitochondrial function which lead to improved locomotor phenotype. We propose that Selaginella aqueous extracts may provide new perspectives for the development of therapeutic strategies in protecting the brain against oxidative stress-mediated neurodegenerative disorders.


Selaginella delicatula, 3-nitropropionic acid, Huntington disease, motor function, oxidative stress, mitochondria

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