Neuroprotective Effects of Thymoquinone in Acrylamide-Induced Peripheral Nervous System Toxicity Through MAPKinase and Apoptosis Pathways in Rat

  • Jamshid Tabeshpour
  • Soghra Mehri
  • Khalil Abnous
  • Hossein HosseinzadehEmail author
Original Paper


Acrylamide (ACR) is extensively used in industrial areas and has been demonstrated to induce neurotoxicity via oxidative stress and apoptosis. In this study, we assessed the probable protective effects of thymoquinone (TQ), an active constituent of Nigella sativa, against ACR-induced neurotoxicity. ACR (50 mg/kg, i.p., for 11 days) and TQ (2.5, 5 and 10 mg/kg, i.p., for 11 days) were administered to rats. On 12th day, gait score was examined and rats were sacrificed. Malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione (GSH) contents were determined in sciatic nerve. Furthermore, western blotting was conducted. The exposure of rats to ACR caused severe gait disabilities. The MDA and GSH contents were increased and decreased, respectively. ACR decreased P-ERK/ERK ratio and myelin basic protein (MBP) content, but significantly increased P-JNK/JNK, P-P38/P38, Bax/Bcl-2 ratios and caspase 3 and 9 levels. Concurrently administration of TQ (5 and 10 mg/kg) with ACR, prevented gait abnormalities and meaningfully reduced MDA and elevated the GSH contents. Furthermore, TQ (5 mg/kg) elevated the P-ERK/ERK ratio and MBP content while reduced the P-JNK/JNK, P-P38/P38 ratios and apoptotic markers. MAP kinase and apoptosis signaling pathways were involved in ACR-induced neurotoxicity in rat sciatic nerve and TQ significantly reduced ACR neurotoxicity. TQ afforded neuroprotection, in part, due to its anti-oxidative stress and anti-apoptotic mechanisms.


Acrylamide Thymoquinone MAP kinase signaling pathway Sciatic nerve Neuroprotective Apoptosis 



Authors are grateful to the Vice Chancellor of Research, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran for financial support. The data reported in this article are part of a Ph.D. thesis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamshid Tabeshpour
    • 1
  • Soghra Mehri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Khalil Abnous
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hossein Hosseinzadeh
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of PharmacyMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  2. 2.Pharmaceutical Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology InstituteMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  3. 3.Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of PharmacyMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran

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