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Naringenin stimulates aromatase expression and alleviates the clinical and histopathological findings of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57bl6 mice

Karaca, E;Yarim, M;

This study was conducted to demonstrate the possible protective and therapeutic effects of naringenin, an estrogenically effective flavonoid, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which is the rodent model of multiple sclerosis. For this purpose, 50 12-week-old C57BL6 male mice were divided into five groups; control, naringenin, EAE, prophylactic naringenin + EAE, and EAE + therapeutic naringenin. The EAE model was induced with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein(35–55), and naringenin (50 mg/kg) was administered by oral gavage. The prophylactic and therapeutic effects of naringenin were examined according to clinical, histopathological, immunohistochemical, electron microscopic, and RT–PCR (aromatase, 3βHSD, estrogen receptors, and progesterone receptor expression) parameters. The acute EAE model was successfully induced, along with its clinical and histopathological findings. RT–PCR showed that expression of aromatase, 3βHSD, estrogen receptor-β, and progesterone receptor gene decreased, while estrogen receptor-α increased after EAE induction. Electron microscopic analysis showed mitochondrial damage and degenerative changes in myelinated axons and neurons in EAE, which could be behind the downregulation in the expressions of neurosteroid enzymes. Aromatase immunopositivity rates also decreased in EAE, while estrogen receptor α and β, and progesterone receptor immunopositivity rates increased. Naringenin improved aromatase immunopositivity rates and gene expression in both prophylactic and therapeutic use. Clinical and histopathological findings revealed that EAE findings were alleviated in both prophylactic and therapeutic groups, along with significantly decreased inflammatory cell infiltrations in the white matter of the spinal cords. In conclusion, naringenin could provide long-term beneficial effects even in prophylactic use due to stimulating aromatase expression, but it could not prevent or eliminate the EAE model’s lesions completely.